- “Some people view conflict as inherently bad whereas others believe that some degree of conflict in organizations is desirable” Which view do you subscribe to and why?
Conflict is a ´clash of interests, values, actions, views or directions.’ People disagree because they see things differently, want different things, have thinking styles which encourage them to disagree, or are predisposed to disagree.
Conflict is a positive element
Conflict is a positive element of all groups. Without it, people would not be challenged to think beyond their everyday, routine boundaries. When a variety of people with different perspectives, values, experiences, education, lifestyles and interests come together, differences abound. That diversity can enrich the discussion, the ideas and the project goals if the conflict and tensions that emerge are resolved and the group uses the learning to improve its work.
Conflict can also be negative
Conflict can also be negative and adversely affect the success of the group. The solution is for the group to deal with its conflict constructively, before it becomes embedded, spreads and erodes the foundation to the point where it cannot carry on any longer.
Understanding conflict is important before you can deal with it effectively. Research tells us that conflict evolves through stages, involves an observable process and has a number of common characteristics. Recognizing and understanding what may be happening is the first step in resolving the situation effectively. Some conflicts can be avoided entirely, or at least kept from escalating, if you understand what is happening, your style and attitudes about conflict and its causes.
Key Elements are common to all conflicts, whether large or small.
- All conflict involves at least two parties - two or more people, two groups, two countries, a person and a group, a country and a group, etc.
- Some sort of struggle or threat, either real or suspected, exists.
- Interaction or interference takes place.
- The interaction may be emotional.
Stages of conflict are evident, and can be tracked as they occur.
- Tension Development - Various parties start taking sides.
- Role Dilemma - People raise questions about what is happening, who is right, what should be done. They try to decide if they should take sides, and if so, which one.
- Injustice Collecting - Each party gathers support. They itemize their problems, justify their position and think of revenge or ways to win.
- Confrontation - The parties meet head on and clash. If both parties hold fast to their side, the showdown may cause permanent barriers.
- Adjustments - Several responses can occur, depending on the relative power of each party:
- domination - when one party is weak and the other strong
- cold war - neither party decides to change, but attempts to weaken the other
- avoidance - one party may choose to avoid the other, while the conflict continues
- compromise - each party gains a little and loses a little
- collaboration - active participation resulting in a solution that takes care of both parties´ needs
Only collaboration, and sometimes compromise, resolves the conflict over time. In society today, other adjustments are, at best, short-term solutions. If resolution means domination, cold war or isolation, the cycle of conflict may continue forever.
What´s Your Style?
Most people have a dominant method or style of dealing with conflict. In some cases, that style may be appropriate, but it may not be, depending on the situation. In most cases, the best style to use is one that achieves an acceptable solution to both parties. This is a collaboration style, and to a lesser extent, a compromising style. This list of styles describes the five most common styles people use to deal with conflict. Which one describes you best?
- Avoiding (unco-operative and unassertive)
Your customary manner is to be passive and withdraw from conflict situations. Your most frequent attitude is to be accepting and patient, often suppressing your strong feelings to avoid confrontation. This type of behaviour usually victimizes one´s self, and tends to make it difficult for others to know there is a problem.
Avoiding can be useful when: an issue is trivial, you have no chance of getting your way, potential harm outweighs the benefits, and you need time to let people cool down.
- Accommodating (co-operative and unassertive)
You try to satisfy the other person´s concerns at the expense of your own. You strive to understand, listen and put yourself in the other person´s place. The mood is often co-operative and even conciliatory.
An accommodating style may be useful when: you know you are wrong, as a gesture of good will, to build favors owed, when you are clearly losing, when harmony is very important.
- Competing (unco-operative and assertive)
You use direct tactics and have a strong need to control the situation and/or people. You want to straighten out the other person, to argue about who is right, and are ready to defend your ideas forcibly. You use whatever seems appropriate to win.
This style may be most useful and effective in emergencies, discipline, enforcement of unpopular rules, when doing unpopular things that must be done.
- Collaborating (co-operative and assertive)
You work with the other person to find a solution that fully satisfies both sides. You are ready to defend a stand without being too pushy. You are willing to work toward a mutually agreeable solution through negotiation. Verbal skills are used to move the discussion forward.
This style is helpful when: both sides are important, learning something new is important, to merge insights, buy-in from others is important, to deal with hard feelings.
- Compromising (intermediate in co-operating and assertiveness)
You work to seek a middle-ground solution for both parties. The solution provides partial satisfaction for both, but in the interest of time and a lack of commitment or effort to do better, this will do.
This style is most helpful when neither side is very important, power on both sides is equal, to arrive at the best solution because you are pressed for time, as a back up when other ways fail.
The Three Steps To Effectively Deal With Conflict Are:
- Define the situation, the facts, the aim or outcome (recognize and define).
Search for alternatives and their implications (generate alternatives)
- Review the immediate environment.
- Assemble information.
- Describe the situation.
- Specify the outcomes.
Make a decision (choose a solution).
- Create choices (reach beyond "either/or" solutions).
- Identify as many feasible solutions as possible.
- Assemble criteria to evaluate choices.
- Assess alternatives: advantages, disadvantages, implications and consequences.
- Select the most appropriate solution.
- Determine implementation plans - who does what by when?
- Follow up on tasks assigned or agreed upon.
- Evaluate the solution and whether or not it is working
What´s Causing This Conflict?
There are five main sources of conflict between two parties. Knowing these root causes may help to determine what´s needed by either or both of the parties to resolve the situation.
Techniques for Dealing with Challenging Personalities
In many cases, conflict can arise between two people or parties because of the personalities involved. Here are several strategies for dealing with challenging personalities, followed by descriptions and specific strategies for a number of the more common difficult personalities found in groups and organizations.
Is the person genuinely difficult or just cranky for a short time?
- Stop wishing the person were different.
You can´t change it. It´s not even a good idea to try.
- Distance yourself from the difficult situation.
Develop a detached view. By giving yourself some distance, you get a better perspective.
Don´t defend or retaliate.
- Formulate a plan to interrupt the situation and carry it through.
You can´t change the behavior of the other person, but you can change yours. Be prepared to adjust your strategy as you go along.
- If your strategies for coping don´t work, stop your efforts for the time being.
Don´t let the situation do you more harm.
- Keep it all in perspective.
Consider the source, the importance of the issue and if others see it as a problem.
- How can an understanding of transactional analysis be of value to a modern manager?
Transactional analysis (TA to its adherents), is an integrative approach to the theory of psychology and psychotherapy. It is described as integrative because it has elements of psychoanalytic, humanist and cognitive approaches. TA was first developed by Canadian-born US psychiatrist Eric Berne, starting in the late 1950s
Transactional Analysis is a theory developed by Dr. Eric Berne in the 1950s. Originally trained in psychoanalysis, Berne wanted a theory which could be understood and available to everyone and began to develop what came to be called Transactional Analysis (TA). Transactional Analysis is a social psychology and a method to improve communication. The theory outlines how we have developed and treats ourselves, how we relate and communicate with others, and offers suggestions and interventions which will enable us to change and grow. Transactional Analysis is underpinned by the philosophy that:
- people can change
- we all have a right to be in the world and be accepted
Initially criticised by some as a simplistic model, Transactional Analysis is now gathering worldwide attention. It originally suffered much from the popularized writings in the 1960s. Also, summarized explanations, such as this, which can only touch on some of the concepts in Transactional Analysis, led their readers to believe that there was very little to it. Many did not appreciate the duration and complexity of the training.
Transactional analysis - ego states
Transactional Analysis first order structural model
Berne devised the concept of ego states to help explain how we are made up, and how we relate to others. These are drawn as three stacked circles and they are one of the building blocks of Transactional Analysis. They categorise the ways we think, feel and behave and are called Parent, Adult, and Child. Each ego state is given a capital letter to denote the difference between actual parents, adults and children.
Parent ego state
This is a set of feelings, thinking and behaviour that we have copied from our parents and significant others.
As we grow up we take in ideas, beliefs, feelings and behaviours from our parents and caretakers. If we live in an extended family then there are more people to learn and take in from. When we do this, it is called introjecting and it is just as if we take in the whole of the care giver. For example, we may notice that we are saying things just as our father, mother, grandmother may have done, even though, consciously, we don´t want to. We do this as we have lived with this person so long that we automatically reproduce certain things that were said to us, or treat others as we might have been treated.
Adult ego state
The Adult ego state is about direct responses to the here and now. We deal with things that are going on today in ways that are not unhealthily influenced by our past.
The Adult ego state is about being spontaneous and aware with the capacity for intimacy. When in our Adult we are able to see people as they are, rather than what we project onto them. We ask for information rather than stay scared and rather than make assumptions. Taking the best from the past and using it appropriately in the present is an integration of the positive aspects of both our Parent and Child ego states. So this can be called the Integrating Adult. Integrating means that we are constantly updating ourselves through our every day experiences and using this to inform us
Child ego state
The Child ego state is a set of behaviours, thoughts and feelings which are replayed from our own childhood.
Both the Parent and Child ego states are constantly being updated. For example, we may meet someone who gives us the permission we needed as a child, and did not get, to be fun and joyous. We may well use that person in our imagination when we are stressed to counteract our old ways of thinking that we must work longer and longer hours to keep up with everything. We might ask ourselves "I wonder what X would say now". Then on hearing the new permissions to relax and take some time out, do just that and then return to the work renewed and ready for the challenge. Subsequently, rather than beating up on ourselves for what we did or did not do, what tends to happen is we automatically start to give ourselves new permissions and take care of ourselves.
The process of analyzing personality in terms of ego states is called structural analysis.
Transactional analysis - descriptive model (revised 2011)
Below is a modern interpretation of the Transactional Analysis descriptive model - called the Transactional Analysis OK Modes Model.
The concept and diagram are particularly helpful tools for understanding what happens in human communications - essentially one-to-one - and what makes these communications constructive or destructive; effective or ineffective.
When two people communicate, each exchange is a transaction.
Parents naturally speak to Children, as this is their role as a parent. They can talk with other Parents and Adults, although the subject still may be about the children.
The Nurturing Parent naturally talks to the Natural Child and the Controlling Parent to the Adaptive Child. In fact these parts of our personality are evoked by the opposite. Thus if I act as an Adaptive Child, I will most likely evoke the Controlling Parent in the other person.
We also play many games between these positions, and there are rituals from greetings to whole conversations (such as the weather) where we take different positions for different events. These are often ´pre-recorded´ as scripts we just play out. They give us a sense of control and identity and reassure us that all is still well in the world. Other games can be negative and destructive and we play them more out of sense of habit and addiction than constructive pleasure
Complementary transactions occur when both people are at the same level (Parent talking to Parent, etc.). Here, both are often thinking in the same way and communication is easier. Problems usually occur in Crossed transactions, where each is talking to a different level.
The parent is either nurturing or controlling, and often speaks to the child, who is either adaptive or ‘natural’ in their response. When both people talk as a Parent to the other’s Child, their wires get crossed and conflict results.
The ideal line of communication is the mature and rational Adult-Adult relationship.
The Importance of Transactional Analysis for Managers
When a transaction succeeds, it is because we respond to others from the state expected, eg from the same level or from Critical Parent to Adapted Child. When it fails, it is because we don´t. To get back in sync with others, we can go to the state that the other person is in or transact from the Adult state. Transactional analysis is a powerful tool which managers can use to give themselves more options when conversing and more options when responding, thereby developing their skills of effective communication.
- How will you determine the personality of a person? Also explain the personality traits that have relevance from the point of view of organizational behavior
Personality is a result of the combination of factors, i.e., physical environment, heredity, culture and particular experiences. Here we discuss each factor determining personality separately.
Four major determinants of personality:
Environmental Factors of Personality:
The environment that an individual lives in has a major impact on his personality. The culture and environment establish attitudes, values, norms and perceptions in an individual. Based on the cultures and traditions, different senses of right and wrong are formed in individuals. These environmental factors also include the neighborhood a person lives in, his school, college, university and workplace. Moreover, it also counts the social circle the individual has. Your friends, parents, colleagues, co-workers and bosses, everybody plays a role as the determinants of your personality.
2. Physical Factors of Personality:
Just as environmental factors, there are many physical factors as well that determine your personality. These physical factors include the overall physical structure of a person: his height, weight, colour, sex, beauty and body language, etc.
An individual’s personality can change over time. Physical factors are one of the major reasons of that. Most of the physical structures change from time to time, and so does the personality. With exercises, cosmetics and surgeries etc. many physical features are changed, and therefore, the personality of the individual also evolves.
3. Situational Factors of Personality:
Although these factors do not literally create and shape up an individual’s personality, situational factors do alter a person’s behavior and response from time to time. The situational factors can be commonly observed when a person behaves contrastingly and exhibits different traits and characteristics. For example, a person’s behavior will be totally different when he is in his office, in front of his boss, when compared to his hangout with old friends in a bar.
4. Heredity Factors of Personality:
Last, but not the least, the heredity factors play a very important role as the major determinants and factors of personality. Heredity factors are the ones that are determined at the time of conception. These factors not only affect the physical features of a person, but the intelligence level, attentiveness, gender, temperament, various inherited diseases and energy level, all get affected by them.
The example of how heredity factors determine such a huge and significant part of an individual’s personality can easily be observed in children. Many children behave exactly how their parents do. Similarly, twin siblings also have a lot of things in common.
Organizations are made up of individuals with individual differences – different ways of looking at the world and approaching specific situations. An effective manager must be able to leverage these individual differences for the benefit of both the individual and the organization. Due to differing personalities and abilities, certain employees may be stronger in certain capacities. Matching employees with the role they are most suited for is a critical endeavor for practitioners of organizational behavior
In psychology, the Big Five personality traits are five broad domains or dimensions of personality that are used to describe human personality. The theory based on the Big Five factors is called the Five Factor Model (FFM). The Big Five factors are openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism.
A summary of the factors of the Big Five and their constituent traits, such that they form the acronym OCEAN:
- Openness to experience: (inventive/curious vs. consistent/cautious). Appreciation for art, emotion, adventure, unusual ideas, curiosity, and variety of experience. Openness reflects the degree of intellectual curiosity, creativity and a preference for novelty and variety a person has. It is also described as the extent to which a person is imaginative or independent, and depicts a personal preference for a variety of activities over a strict routine. Some disagreement remains about how to interpret the openness factor, which is sometimes called "intellect" rather than openness to experience.
- Conscientiousness: (efficient/organized vs. easy-going/careless). A tendency to be organized and dependable, show self-discipline, act dutifully, aim for achievement, and prefer planned rather than spontaneous behavior.
- Extraversion: (outgoing/energetic vs. solitary/reserved). Energy, positive emotions, urgency, assertiveness, sociability and the tendency to seek stimulation in the company of others, and talkativeness.
- Agreeableness: (friendly/compassionate vs. analytical/detached). A tendency to be compassionate and cooperative rather than suspicious and antagonistic towards others. It is also a measure of one´s trusting and helpful nature, and whether a person is generally well tempered or not.
- Neuroticism: (sensitive/nervous vs. secure/confident). The tendency to experience unpleasant emotions easily, such as anger, anxiety, depression, and vulnerability. Neuroticism also refers to the degree of emotional stability and impulse control and is sometimes referred to by its low pole, "emotional stability"
- “To provide optimal incentive to the people at work to achieve desired results the management must understand the prevailing level and nature of motives because without such information, it would not be possible to use suitable incentives both tangible and intangible to effectively mobilize and direct human efforts towards the attainment of organizational goals.” Elucidate the statement
Motivation is the driving force that causes the flux from desire to will in life. For example, hunger is a motivation that elicits a desire to eat.
A motive may be defined as a conscious mental process which moves a man to act in a particular way, and with the possible exception of actions done from a sense of duty, actions done with a conscious process of willing have as their motives desires. It is my desire to eat food that moves me to go into a restaurant and order a meal.
Nature of Motivation
Motivation helps in inspiring and encouraging the people to work willingly.
One motive may result in many different behaviors: The desire for prestige may lead a person to give money away, get additional educational training, run for political office, steal, join groups or may change his outward appearance. A person wanting acceptance will behave differently in a car pool, swimming pool or office secretarial pool.
Motives are the energizing forces within us: These forces are invisible and it is very difficult to measure them, because all of us are different and the motives energizing us at a point differ from time to time. Observing someone´s behavior may indicate that a certain need is present in this person which motivates him onwards.
The same behavior may result from many different motives: Behavior may be caused by a number of different motives. For example, the motives behind the purchase of a car may be: to appear respectable; to satisfy economic values and to reinforce company created status differentials; to appear younger and attractive; to gain acceptance from others or to maintain the acceptance already gained through a similar income level. Therefore, it is wrong to asses that all behavior as coming from the same motive. For different motives people do different things like attend classes, get married, join unions or groups etc. Thus motives cannot be identified from any specific behavior.
Motives may operate in harmony or in conflict: Behavior is frequently the result of the interplay of several motives. These motives may drive a person to one direction or in a number of other directions. For example, an employ may desire an outstanding performance and may also be sensitive to being outcast by his fellow employees if he performs too well and receive too much of appreciation from the employer. Therefore, behavior is the result of many forces differing in direction and intent.
Behavior can be used as an estimate of an individual´s motives: It is possible to make an estimate of the cause of an individual´s behavior by repeatedly observing his behavior. For example, there is truth in the statement that some people always seem to feel insecure and thus behave continuously in a manner reflecting the insecurity of feeling. There are also people who behave in a way that radiates confidence.
Motives come and go: Energy level of a motivation may differ in different times. i.e. rarely we find the same energy level of motivation for a long period like a year or 10 years. For example, a young man who prefers to travel during vacation may give up the idea during the tennis season because the joy of playing tennis takes place the need of traveling.
Motives interact with environment: The situation at a particular point in time may trigger or suppress the action of a motive. You probably have experienced situations where you did not realize the intensity of need of a car till the traveling requirements of your business are not developed. Similarly, many of these sociological needs become stimulated when you are in a situation filled with the sociological factors
Process of motivation
The basic elements of the process of motivation are:
Motives: Motive or need or want or drive prompt people to action. They are the primary energies of behaviour. They are the ways of behaviour and origin of action. These want or motives are subject to human being and his mental feelings. They varies and are connected with the mental process of understanding. They affects the behaviour in many ways. They arise continuously and determine the general direction of an individual´s behaviour.
Behavior: All behavior is a series of activities. Behaviour is generally motivated by a desire to achieve a goal. At any moment individuals may indulge in different kinds of activities like eating, walking, talking etc., swiftly they switch from one activity to other. By understanding the motives one can predict or control the activities.
Goals: Motives are directed towards goals. Motives generally create a state of disequilibrium, physiological or psychological imbalance, within the individuals. Attaining a goal will tend to restore physiological or psychological balance. Goals are the ends which provide satisfaction of human wants. They are outside an individual; they are hoped for incentives toward which needs are directed. One person may satisfy his need for power by kicking subordinates and another by becoming the president of a company. Thus, a need can be satisfied by several alternate goals. The particular goals chosen by an individual depends on four factors:
1. The cultural norms and values that are instilled as one matures.
- One´s inherited and biological capabilities
- Personal experience and learning influences and
- Mobility in the physical and social environment.
The need of incentives can be many:-
- To increase productivity,
- To drive or arouse a stimulus work,
- To enhance commitment in work performance,
- To psychologically satisfy a person which leads to job satisfaction,
- To shape the behavior or outlook of subordinate towards work,
- To inculcate zeal and enthusiasm towards work,
- To inculcate zeal and enthusiasm towards work,
- To get the maximum of their capabilities so that they are exploited and utilized maximally.
Therefore, management has to offer the following two categories of incentives to motivate employees:
- Monetary incentives-
Those incentives which satisfy the subordinates by providing them rewards in terms of rupees. Money has been recognized as a chief source of satisfying the needs of people. Money is also helpful to satisfy the social needs by possessing various material items. Therefore, money not only satisfies psychological needs but also the security and social needs. Therefore, in many factories, various wage plans and bonus schemes are introduced to motivate and stimulate the people to work.
- Non-monetary incentives-
Besides the monetary incentives, there are certain non-financial incentives which can satisfy the ego and self- actualization needs of employees. The incentives which cannot be measured in terms of money are under the category of “Non- monetary incentives”. Whenever a manager has to satisfy the psychological needs of the subordinates, he makes use of non-financial incentives. Non- financial incentives can be of the following types:-
- Security of service- Job security is an incentive which provides great motivation to employees. If his job is secured, he will put maximum efforts to achieve the objectives of the enterprise. This also helps since he is very far off from mental tension and he can give his best to the enterprise.
- Praise or recognition- The praise or recognition is another non- financial incentive which satisfies the ego needs of the employees. Sometimes praise becomes more effective than any other incentive. The employees will respond more to praise and try to give the best of their abilities to a concern.
- Suggestion scheme-
The organization should look forward to taking suggestions and inviting suggestion schemes from the subordinates. This inculcates a spirit of participation in the employees. This can be done by publishing various articles written by employees to improve the work environment which can be published in various magazines of the company. This also is helpful to motivate the employees to feel important and they can also be in search for innovative methods which can be applied for better work methods. This ultimately helps in growing a concern and adapting new methods of operations.
- Job enrichment-
Job enrichment is another non- monetary incentive in which the job of a worker can be enriched. This can be done by increasing his responsibilities, giving him an important designation, increasing the content and nature of the work. This way efficient worker can get challenging jobs in which they can prove their worth. This also helps in the greatest motivation of the efficient employees.
- Promotion opportunities-
Promotion is an effective tool to increase the spirit to work in a concern. If the employees are provided opportunities for the advancement and growth, they feel satisfied and contented and they become more committed to the organization.
- What are the main characteristics or Organization Development? Do you think OD might work in the organization you are familiar with? Explain why or why not?
O.D. is system-wide and value-based collaborative process of applying behavioral science knowledge to the adaptive development, improvement and reinforcement of such
Organizational features as the strategies, structures, processes, people and cultures that lead to organizational effectiveness
The characteristics of O. D. are:
- It is a system-wise process
- It is value-based
- It is collaborative
- It is based on behavioral science knowledge
- It is concerned with strategies, structures, processes, people and culture
- It is about organizational effectiveness
The important aspects include:
- Long-term effort
- Led and supported by top management
- Visioning processes-viable, coherent and shared picture
- Empowerment processes
- Learning processes
- Problem solving processes
- Ongoing collaborative management of the organizational culture
- Intact work teams and other configurations
- Cross- functional teams
- Consultant- facilitator role
- Theory and technology of applied behavioral science
- Action research
OBJECTIVES OF ORGANIZATIONAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME
- Individual and group development.
- Development of organization culture and processes by constant interaction between members irrespective of levels of hierarchy.
- Inculcating team spirit.
- Empowerment of social side of employees.
- Focus of value development.
- Employee participation, problem-solving and decision-making at various levels.
- Evaluate present systems and introduction of new systems thereby achieving total system change if required.
- Transformation and achievement of competitive edge of the organization.
- Achieve organization growth by total human inputs by way of research and development, innovations, creativity and exploiting human talent.
- Behavior modification and self managed team as the basic unit of an organization
- “Stress is a dynamic condition supposed to accompany opportunities and yet is characterized by individual exhaustions and diminished organizational accomplishments.” Do you agree? Discuss
Stress is a normal physical response to events that make you feel threatened or upset your balance in some way. When you sense danger—whether it’s real or imagined—the body´s defenses kick into high gear in a rapid, automatic process known as the “fight-or-flight-or-freeze” reaction, or the stress response.
The stress response is the body’s way of protecting you. When working properly, it helps you stay focused, energetic, and alert. In emergency situations, stress can save your life—giving you extra strength to defend yourself, for example, or spurring you to slam on the brakes to avoid an accident.
Varying Degrees of Stress
People in some work places experience more stress vis-a-vis others, particularly those in occupations where workers are required to display emotions like nursing, social work and teaching An extreme form of this stress has been categorized as ´burnout´, a stage when a person starts treating his clients as objects (depersonalization), evaluates himself negatively and feels emotionally exhausted. In such extreme cases, performance has been known to dip considerably and this drop in productivity can be attributed to the stress. Hence, its imperative to define stress, understand its implications and counter the risk of productivity loss by effectively managing stress in oneself and in others.
Is Stress Always Negative?
It’s not stress that kills us; it is our reaction to it.
Eustress is a positive psychological response to a stressor resulting in the presence of positive psychological states. Neustress refers to a neutral reaction and the individual is said to be in homeostasis. Distress is the negative counterpart of eustress.
Stress is a part and parcel of life and cannot be avoided. However, if used in a gainful way, stress can lead to beneficial outcomes too. Research and studies should be directed towards understanding the impact of stress on positive health, growth and well being as proposed by the positive psychology movement. If aptly managed, stress can energize, stimulate and induce growth and productivity in one´s profession. One can accomplish new objectives and there can be positive personal changes.
Factors that Result in Job Stress
Job stress could be as a result of a number of factors, which can be broadly classified into (1) external factors relating to organization and work-family conflicts, and (2) internal factors. External factors are well described by Cooper and Marshall´s five sources of stress.
Organizational factors: According to Cooper & Marshall, stress could be due to factors intrinsic to the job, such as poor physical working conditions, work overload or time pressures. Often, one´s role in the organization and the ambiguity associated with the job resulting from inadequate information concerning expectations, authority and responsibilities to perform one´s role as well as the conflict that arises from the demands placed on the individual by superiors, peers and subordinates could also result in stress. A third factor is the impact of status incongruence, lack of job security and thwarted ambition on one´s career progression.. At an organizational level, the structure and climate, including the degree of involvement in decision making and participation in office politics could result in a stressful climate.
Work family interaction: The rise of families in which both partners are earning and increasing female participation in the sphere of employment has transformed the ways in which couples manage work and family responsibilities. Work and family integration can result in both negative (i.e., work-family conflict) and positive interactions (i.e., work-family enrichment). Work-family conflict and work-family enrichment can occur in either direction - "work-to-family or family-to-work". Work demands, family demands and work flexibility are recognized to be important determinants of the work- family interaction.
Personality: Besides external factors, there are internal factors too that can cause stress, like the age of the individual, sex, education and a personality that is deemed Type A or inherently stressful.
How much stress is too much?
Your ability to tolerate stress depends on many factors, including the quality of your relationships, your general outlook on life, your emotional intelligence, and genetics.
Things that influence your stress tolerance level
- Your support network – A strong network of supportive friends and family members can be an enormous buffer against life’s stressors. On the flip side, the more lonely and isolated you are, the greater your vulnerability to stress.
- Your sense of control – It may be easier to take stress in your stride if you have confidence in yourself and your ability to influence events and persevere through challenges. If you feel like things are out of your control, you’re likely to have less tolerance for stress.
- Your attitude and outlook – Optimistic people are often more stress-hardy. They tend to embrace challenges, have a strong sense of humor, and accept that change is a part of life.
- Your ability to deal with your emotions – You’re extremely vulnerable to stress if you don’t know how to calm and soothe yourself when you’re feeling sad, angry, or overwhelmed by a situation. The ability to bring your emotions into balance helps you bounce back from adversity and is a skill that can be learned at any age.
- Your knowledge and preparation – The more you know about a stressful situation, including how long it will last and what to expect, the easier it is to cope. For example, if you go into surgery with a realistic picture of what to expect post-op, a painful recovery will be less traumatic than if you were expecting to bounce back immediately.
- Identify the leadership style of your superior under whom you have worked either in academic setting or in a work setting and analyze its impact on your work performance and satisfaction.
Leadership has been described as "a process of social influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task“. For example, some understand a leader simply as somebody whom people follow, or as somebody who guides or directs others, while others define leadership as "organizing a group of people to achieve a common goal".
According to Gareth R. Jones and Jennifer A. George:
"Leadership is “the process by which an individual exerts influence over other people and inspires, motivates, and directs their activities to help achieve group or organizational goals.”
Researchers have developed a number of leadership theories over the years. These can be categorized into four main types:
- Trait theories – What type of person makes a good leader?
Trait theories argue that leaders share a number of common personality traits and characteristics, and that leadership emerges from these traits. Early trait theories promoted the idea that leadership is an innate, instinctive quality that you either have or don´t have. Thankfully, we´ve moved on from this approach, and we´re learning more about what we can do as individuals to develop leadership qualities within ourselves and others.
What´s more, traits are external behaviors that emerge from things going on within the leader´s mind – and it´s these internal beliefs and processes that are important for effective leadership.
Trait theory does, however, help us identify some qualities that are helpful when leading others and, together, these emerge as a generalized leadership style. Examples include empathy, assertiveness, good decision-making, and likability.
- Behavioral theories – What does a good leader do?
Behavioral theories focus on how leaders behave. Do they dictate what needs to be done and expect cooperation? Or do they involve the team in decisions to encourage acceptance and support?
In the 1930s, Kurt Lewin developed a leadership framework based on a leader´s decision-making behavior. Lewin argued that there are three types of leaders:
- Autocratic leaders make decisions without consulting their teams. This is considered appropriate when decisions genuinely need to be taken quickly, when there´s no need for input, and when team agreement isn´t necessary for a successful outcome.
- Democratic leaders allow the team to provide input before making a decision, although the degree of input can vary from leader to leader. This type of style is important when team agreement matters, but it can be quite difficult to manage when there are lots of different perspectives and ideas.
- Laissez-faire leaders don´t interfere; they allow the team to make many of the decisions. Typically this happens when the team is highly capable and motivated, and it doesn´t need close monitoring or supervision.
Similar to Lewin´s model, the Blake-Mouton Managerial Grid helps you decide how best to lead, depending on your concern for people versus your concern for production. The model describes five different leadership styles: impoverished, country club, team leader, produce or perish, or middle of the road. The descriptions of these will help you understand your own leadership habits and adapt them to meet your team´s needs.
- Contingency theories – How does the situation influence good leadership?
The realization that there isn´t one correct type of leader led to theories that the best leadership style is contingent on, or depends on, the situation. These theories try to predict which leadership style is best in which circumstance.
When a decision is needed fast, which style is preferred? When the leader needs the full support of the team, is there a better way to lead? Should a leader be more people oriented or task oriented? These are all examples of questions that contingency leadership theories try to address.
- Power and influence theories – What is the source of the leader´s power?
These theories of leadership take an entirely different approach. They´re based on the different ways in which leaders use power and influence to get things done, and the leadership styles that emerge as a result. Perhaps the most well known of these theories is French and Raven’s Five Forms of Power. This model distinguishes between using your position to exert power and using your personal attributes to be powerful.
French and Raven identified three types of positional power – legitimate, reward, and coercive – and two sources of personal power – expert and referent (your personal appeal and charm).
Having said this, however, there´s one leadership style that is appropriate in very many corporate situations – that of Transformational Leadership. A leader using this style:
- Has integrity.
- Sets clear goals.
- Clearly communicates a vision.
- Sets a good example.
- Expects the best from the team.
- Recognizes good work and people.
- Provides stimulating work.
- Helps people see beyond their self-interests and focus more on team interests and needs.
In short, transformational leaders are exceptionally motivating and they´re trusted. When your team trusts you, and is really "fired up" by the way you lead, you can achieve great things!
Popular Leadership Styles –
The leadership theories and styles discussed so far are based on research. However, many more terms are used to describe approaches to leadership, even if these don´t fit within a particular theoretical system. It´s worth understanding these!
Autocratic leadership is an extreme form of transactional leadership, where leaders have absolute power over their workers or team. Staff and team members have little opportunity to make suggestions, even if these would be in the team´s or the organization´s best interest.
Most people tend to resent being treated like this. Therefore, autocratic leadership usually leads to high levels of absenteeism and staff turnover. For some routine and unskilled jobs, the style can remain effective because the advantages of control may outweigh the disadvantages.
- Bureaucratic leadership
Bureaucratic leaders work "by the book." They follow rules rigorously, and ensure that their staff follows procedures precisely. This is a very appropriate style for work involving serious safety risks (such as working with machinery, with toxic substances, or at dangerous heights) or where large sums of money are involved (such as handling cash).
- Charismatic leadership
A charismatic leadership style can seem similar to transformational leadership, because these leaders inspire lots of enthusiasm in their teams and are very energetic in driving others forward. However, charismatic leaders can tend to believe more in themselves than in their teams, and this creates a risk that a project, or even an entire organization, might collapse if the leader leaves. In the eyes of the followers, success is directly connected to the presence of the charismatic leader. As such, charismatic leadership carries great responsibility, and it needs a long-term commitment from the leader.
- Democratic leadership or participative leadership
Although democratic leaders make the final decisions, they invite other members of the team to contribute to the decision-making process. This not only increases job satisfaction by involving team members, but it also helps to develop people´s skills. Team members feel in control of their own destiny, so they´re motivated to work hard by more than just a financial reward.
Because participation takes time, this approach can take more time, but often the end result is better. The approach can be most suitable when working as a team is essential, and when quality is more important than speed to market or productivity.
- Laissez-faire leadership
This French phrase means "leave it be," and it´s used to describe leaders who leave their team members to work on their own. It can be effective if the leader monitors what´s being achieved and communicates this back to the team regularly. Most often, laissez-faire leadership is effective when individual team members are very experienced and skilled self-starters. Unfortunately, this type of leadership can also occur when managers don´t apply sufficient control.
- People-oriented leadership or relations-oriented leadership
This is the opposite of task-oriented leadership. With people-oriented leadership, leaders are totally focused on organizing, supporting, and developing the people in their teams. It´s a participative style, and it tends to encourage good teamwork and creative collaboration.
In practice, most leaders use both task-oriented and people-oriented styles of leadership.
- Servant leadership
This term, created by Robert Greenleaf in the 1970s, describes a leader who is often not formally recognized as such. When someone, at any level within an organization, leads simply by meeting the needs of the team, he or she is described as a "servant leader."
In many ways, servant leadership is a form of democratic leadership, because the whole team tends to be involved in decision making.
- Task-Oriented leadership
Highly task-oriented leaders focus only on getting the job done, and they can be quite autocratic. They actively define the work and the roles required, put structures in place, plan, organize, and monitor. However, because task-oriented leaders don´t tend to think much about the well-being of their teams, this approach can suffer many of the flaws of autocratic leadership, with difficulties in motivating and retaining staff.
- Transactional leadership
This style of leadership starts with the idea that team members agree to obey their leader totally when they accept a job. The "transaction" is usually the organization paying the team members in return for their effort and compliance. The leader has a right to "punish" team members if their work doesn´t meet the pre-determined standard.
Transactional leadership is really a type of management, not a true leadership style, because the focus is on short-term tasks. It has serious limitations for knowledge-based or creative work.
- Transformational leadership
As we discussed earlier, people with this leadership style are true leaders who inspire their teams constantly with a shared vision of the future. While this leader´s enthusiasm is often passed onto the team, he or she can need to be supported by "detail people." That´s why, in many organizations, both transactional and transformational leadership are needed. The transactional leaders (or managers) ensure that routine work is done reliably, while the transformational leaders look after initiatives that add value
Leadership is an important function in small business. Leadership and management represent two completely different business concepts. Leadership is commonly defined as establishing a clear vision, communicating the vision with others and resolving the conflicts between various individuals who are responsible for completing the company vision. Management is the organization and coordination of various economic resources in a business. Leadership can have a significant impact on an organization performance.
Effect on organization performance
Setting the Tone
Small business owners usually set the leadership tone for their organization. Owners accomplish this by developing a mission or set of values by which they operate their company. This creates a minimum level of acceptance for employee behavior. Business owners often create company policies or guidelines from the company&