Write a 2500-word essay discussing the approaches and techniques used by effective values-based leaders at a company you wish to work within after completing your degree. Also consider your own strengths and the challenges you may face in line with this.
a) Outline the values-driven leadership approach taken by the company, using two relevant leadership theories to critically
b) Discuss and justify three people management activities values-driven leaders should employ in your chosen business to develop, manage and
c) Discuss how these approaches are expected to lead to individual, team and organisational success in your chosen business.
d) Considering your personal preferences and aptitudes, outline and reflect on the key challenges you expect to encounter in your first year of leadership
Note: it is expected that you will include evidence of your personal preferences and aptitudes (e.g. self-assessments) in as appendices to your essay.
The study aims to determine the values-driven leadership approach adopted by Agilent Technologies, therefore evaluating it for determining people management activities that the values-driven leader of the company can implement for improving management and success for individuals, teams and the organisation. Technologies is a California-based software company that has globally expanded. The company’s current CEO is Michael R. McMullen and the number of employees as of 2022 reportedly working in the company was 18,100. Besides providing software services, the company also provides instruments and consumables for Laboratories (Agilent, 2023). This is the organisation I wish to work for in the future. In this essay, I will evaluate my strengths and weaknesses in working as a leader while presenting a few ways to improve myself.
2.1 Evaluation of the values-driven leadership approach adopted by the company
Values-driven leadership refers to leading people with a great sense of purpose and commitment to values like excellence, trust, shared honesty, integrity and social and environmental responsibility. The core values adopted by the company include uncompromising integrity, trust, respect, teamwork, focus accountability, speaking up and innovation. These are the values and behaviours that drive the leadership in the company. These are values that adjust with transformational and situational leadership theories and were successfully employed in the company (Bass and Riggio, 2006). Transformational leadership is a management philosophy that inspires and motivates employees to grow and contribute to innovation for the organization’s future success. According to Bass and Riggio (2006), the values of transformational leadership are trust, integrity, respect, innovation, communication and more. These are values that align with the values of Agilent Technologies’ leadership. The emphasis on innovation has enabled the company to excel in its services and consumables to its clients, thereby globally expanding.
The company also adopts multiple sustainability activities for improving environmental conditions, which denotes its alignment with social and environmental responsibility. This demonstrates the activities adopted by the company to achieve its value of uncompromising integrity, which represents business ethics and high standards of business. The company brings this integrity to its relationships with employees, customers, competitors, investors, suppliers, and patients. Considering the transformational leadership quality of trust, the company’s leadership invests in building trust within teams by honouring commitments. In order to enhance communication, the leaders encourages engagement in candid and constructive dialogue. Yen et al. (2019) reckoned that this has further contributed to the building of better teamwork within the inclusive and diverse teams in the company. These were the pros of transformational leadership in the organisation however, the cons faced by the company is related to employee burn out as the leaders often use their influence on employees to make them work harder or make them overwork.
Situational leadership refers to the ability to quickly adapt to unique situations to meet the needs of team members in the organisation. As per Oyenuga et al. (2020), the characteristics or values of situational leadership include flexibility, adaptability, participation, integrity and more. Due to these values, the leaders can retain focus on company goals. Leadership behaviour in the company like adaptability and flexibility show that the company is implementing adequate changes necessary for meeting its employee and client needs, which is part of the company’s goals. The approach adopted by the company for prioritising important subjects includes identifying company-level goals related to its people resources and the activities required for delivery impact to the organization’s stakeholders. The company embraces accountability as it owns its work and the results it produces, even during mistakes and failures. A reason for the company to constantly be able to innovate is through the tests and active experiments conducted.
During the tests and experiments, the teams failed multiple times and succeeded only once. On such occasions, accountability for failure is held by the entire team and not an individual in the team, which indicates the type of teamwork that the organisation develops. Focus on innovation is another behaviour that has allowed the company to constantly innovate its services in products for market needs. These are the pros of situational leadership that were successfully employed in the company, nonetheless, the con faced by the company due to this leadership style was uncertainity in the organisation. Nevertheless, it can be said that the company’s value-driven leadership approaches are influenced by transformation and situational leadership (Cohrs et al. 2020). By focusing on either leadership style, the company would not have been able to accomplish all the behaviours and skills required for achieving its core values.
2.2 People management activities and implications
The people management activities that the values-driven leaders of Agilent Technologies must incorporate within the company to develop, manage and lead the teams include balancing skills, promoting healthy competition and maintaining clarity in team goals.
- Balancing skill
Belbin’s Team Role model is a framework that can be used for balancing skills within a team while including diversity (Scott, 2017). This model provides nine different roles that can be accommodated within a team for effectively managing it. The first role is the plant, the creative person responsible for creating new ideas for solving business problems. Scott (2017) propounded that this individual can face challenges like poor communication and lack of detailed orientation. The second is the resource investigator, who is a good communicator for overcoming the weakness of a plant and is responsible for exploring new opportunities and developing networks that will help the team achieve its goals. However, the problem is that the resource investigator may soon become disinterested in the project’s progress.
The third role is that of the coordinator, who controls communication and clarifies goals to keep the team on track. This helps the coordinator fill the gap created by the resource investigator; however, their weakness is that they can be excessively controlling. The fourth role is a team worker responsible for cooperating with everyone, supporting and listening to everyone. The team worker can manage the controlling nature of a coordinator; however, their weakness is being indices in critical situations. The fifth role is that of a highly enthusiastic shaper responsible for converting team ideas into practical actions. Wiggins and Smallwood (2018) opined that this enables the individual to push the team worker to make decisions where required; however, the weakness of the shaper is being insensitive. The sixth role belongs to the implementer, a highly organised and reliable individual promoting teamwork and, therefore, can balance the sensitivity of the shaper.
The weakness of this role is a slow reaction to new ideas. The specialist is the seventh role, an individual expert in the problem managed by the team. This individual can overcome the weakness of the implementer by determining the value of new ideas due to their expert knowledge; however, their weakness includes the inability to prioritise the team’s progress. The monitor is the 8th role, an analytical individual reviewing all the options before making a rash decision and their weaknesses to inspire others. Turner et al. (2018) found that the last role is of a finisher responsible for ensuring a high standard is written when the task is completed. Using this model ensures the team’s success as every member has characteristics that can overcome the weaknesses of another member, reflecting ideal teamwork. Team members have distinct responsibilities that help them understand their duties and comply with the team role.
Combining the individual and team success due to the integration of this model scope of organisation of success in terms of balancing skills is possible. In the case of multiple teams, these roles need to be split into smaller groups or teams, including members with similar responsibilities. For example, the specialist and the plant must be on the same team, as they are responsible for creative ideas and demonstrating expertise that is not related to coordination roles therefore they must be in a separate team (Cohrs et al. 2020). Coordination is hampered when these many people are working remotely; therefore, it is not an ideal proposition for remote teams. However, it can effectively be utilised within hybrid teams. For example, people in charge of coordination within the team and communication must work on the ground, while those related to creative tasks can continue their work remotely.
- Promoting healthy competition conflict resolution within the team
For promoting healthy competition while avoiding conflict that emerges due to competition, Patrick Lencioni’s Five Team Dysfunctions is a framework that can demonstrate the role played by a value-driven leader in overcoming internal team challenges (Lencioni, 2005). The framework helps lead the team while overcoming internal problems. As per this model, five dysfunctions occur within the team that affects the team’s ability to develop trust. It includes fear of conflict, lack of commitment, avoidance of team accountability, inattention to team objectives and absence of trust. Lencioni (2005) discovered that the role of a values-driven leader in the company is first acknowledging a problem and then determining the key reason for the conflict, also known as mining the conflict.
Clarity and closure need to be incorporated within the team to improve commitment and adjust the problem with accountability, confronting the difficult issues the team is facing in the activity adopted. Mate et al. (2019) concluded that the value-driven leader must focus on collective outcomes to overcome these dysfunctions. Ensuring the implementation of these approaches is difficult within remote and hybrid teams since the members are scattered similarly within multiple teams, and managing the diverse conflict can be difficult. As a result, it affects the ability of the values-driven leader to lead individuals and teams effectively, which is the pioneer for organisational success.
- Retaining clarity in team goals and teamwork
Retaining clarity and unity within the team’s shared goals can be difficult, especially when a team becomes dysfunctional. Nevertheless, Tuckman provides a team-building model that can be used for welding the team together, ensuring the achievement of team goals (Tambe et al. 2019). Tambe et al. (2019) demonstrated that this framework is necessary for developing the teams in the company. The first stage in this team developing model is forming, where the behaviour observed includes avoidance of conflict and excitement as the team members come together and interact for the first time there for trying to make a good impression on each other. Therefore, the team members are extremely optimistic on the stage. The second stage is storming, where the team members begin to interact on a people level and may find it uncomfortable to work with strangers, which becomes a cause for conflict in the team. Pertaining to these conflicts, the unity and the importance of the goal of the team often diminish, which is considered a challenge for Agilent Technologies.
In such conditions, the team requires conflict resolution and clarity on the purpose of the team to ensure that the task can continue to be performed by mitigating them into personal conflicts. Next is the norming stage, where the team members gradually become constable and learn more about each other, balancing and mutually supporting the observable behaviour. Decision-making in the team is enhanced while the exchange of information becomes transparent. The second last stage is performing, where the team members have adapted themselves to the conditions internally and externally, impacting turning into a fully functional team. Megheirkouni and Mejheirkouni (2020) acknowledged that this is the stage where the actual project work is carried out due to the commitment and bond that have developed as an outcome of the previous team-building stages. The previous stages were, therefore, necessary for building commitment to the team’s cause. The last stage is a journey where the team has fulfilled its goal and is ready to dismember.
Based on the team’s performance, they are rewarded, which is very important for motivating the team members to continue their good work in future projects undertaken by Agilent Technologies. Naghi et al. (2022) summarised that this model and its approaches do not apply to multiple teams; remote and hybrid teams are likely to observe similar team development conditions. For individuals in the team, this model is a mechanism that increases their ability to collaborate with others and becomes highly adaptable and flexible. In contrast, for the team, it is a system that allows them to retain focus on team goals by overcoming interpersonal conflict. Agilent Technologies can achieve organisational success.
2.3 Reflection on challenges
Based on the skills audit, I have identified three challenges and expect to be of great hindrance in my first year of leadership. The challenges I have identified include coaching, interpersonal skills and oral communication. Currently, these are my weaknesses. The strengths that I was able to determine from the skills audit were written communications, target setting, motivation, delegation, planning, organisation and time management, and problem-solving decision-making. I believe these are critical qualities that must be present in a value-driven leader in Agilent Technologies. Oral communication is important since, as a leader, I will have to interact with my superiors and subordinates to get the message across to them (Newstead, 2022). Interpersonal skills are necessary for a leader since it is essential for building positive relationships and influencing others. The need for coaching is observed in negotiating and using feedback while dealing with subordinates. Unless I can build these skills, I cannot efficiently perform as a leader.
To address the potential challenges as a leader in this organisation I must utilise my strengths to overcome my weaknesses. In this process, I will use my planning and targeting skills to undertake a systematic approach where I can enhance my ability to perform the role of a leader by improving oral communication, interpersonal skills and coaching ability. I will use the SMART goals techniques to develop these weaknesses (Doran, 1981). A specific goal that I need to follow is the improvement of oral communication, interpersonal skills and coaching abilities. These goals will be measured using feedback from my supervisors and peers. Positive and constructive feedback will imply that I have successfully improved in these areas. The skills are available through participation in workshops and training and development programmes that help develop these competencies. The relevance of the skills is directed towards increasing value as a leader to the organisation and to my employees. The time estimated for establishing these skills is between 6 months to 1 year. By adopting these measures, I am most likely to enhance my readiness to perform well in my leadership role within Agilent Technologies in the future.
Based on the above discussions, the values-driven leadership approach adopted by Agilent Technologies is inspired by transformational and situational leadership theories. The values accomplished by the organisation as a result of its values Tribune leadership include honesty, integrity, responsibility, commitment and more. The people management activities and their implications on the organization’s individuals and teams’ success have been demonstrated using Belbin’s team roles model, Tuckman’s team development framework and Lencioni’s Five team dysfunctions. Within the reflection, SMART goals have been used to enhance the readiness for serving the role of a leader in the company.
Agilent (2023). Agilent Leadership. [online] www.agilent.com. Available at: https://www.agilent.com/about/companyinfo/leadership [Accessed 31 Aug. 2023].
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|SKILL LEVEL Low High
|Organisation and time management
|Prioritising, dealing with paperwork; interruptions; planning your day.
|1 2 3 4 5
|Can be improved
|Decision making and problem solving
|Ability to make decisions; selecting suitable solutions; analysis of appropriateness.
|1 2 3 4 5
|Can be improved
|Leading teams; consulting team members; task allocation; objective setting.
|1 2 3 4 5
|Can increase knowledge
|Matching tasks to staff; providing guidance and advice; maintaining staff motivation and focus.
|1 2 3 4 5
|Can be improved
|Applying motivational techniques; understanding individual motives; making tasks challenging; encouraging creativity; providing team support; engendering trust and openness.
|1 2 3 4 5
|Can be improved
|Providing guidance; listening skills; ability to draw out information; reinforcing behaviour using feedback; negotiating; planning goals and objectives.
|1 2 3 4 5
|Needs to be enhanced
|Understanding and communicating organisational objectives; use of SMART objectives to achieve targets.
|1 2 3 4 5
|Can increase knowledge
|Relating to others; building rapport and positive relationships; being sensitive to peoples needs; using influencing and persuasive skills to help others improve performance or overcome problems; listening effectively and providing feedback; being assertive; use of body language.
|1 2 3 4 5
|Needs to be enhanced
|Structure and format of letters, memos, e-mails, reports
|1 2 3 4 5
|Can be improved
|Structure and format: techniques for effective presentations; using the telephone; meetings.
|1 2 3 4 5
|Require urgent attention for development
|Organisation and time managementDecision making and problem solvingPlanningDelegationMotivationTarget settingWritten communications
|CoachingInterpersonal skillsOral communications
|Knowledge developmentParticipate in workshops and training programs
|Inability to deliver leadership dutiesInefficient exchange of information
Appendix C: SMART goals
|To improve oral communication, interpersonal skills and coaching abilities
|Measured using feedback from my supervisors and peers
|Participation in workshops and training and development programmes that help develop these competencies
|Increasing value as a leader to the organisation and to my employees
|6 months to 1 year