The COVID-19 situation has changed the working pattern of almost all the sectors. The employees are comfortable working from home and are used to their new schedule. Slowly, as the situation gets normal, the employee will have to come back to the regular schedule of working in the office. It is a challenge for the leaders to persuade the employees back in the office. Positional power of a leader in the power due to the authority and position in the organization's structure or hierarchy (Shah, 2015). Personal power is attained as a reward for credibility, intelligence, accountability, skills, etc. from the followers. This power is not officially provided but a result of behavioral actions.
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In the situation of persuading the employees for working back into the office,personal power would be more useful as compared to the positional power. Positional power gives direction whereas personal power is about the discussion (Lunenburg, 2012). The leader's soft skills such as negotiation, communication skills, motivation skills, etc. would be useful in convincing the employees to work in the office in the pandemic situation where we must adapt precautions to be safe and work to achieve greater success.
The positional power would order the employees to work which is most likely to be disliked by the employee and some of the employees may even show rejection and protest regarding the decision. Therefore, ordering the employees would not be useful as many unsatisfied employees may even leave the organization which would lead to an increase in the employee turnover of the company. The increase in employee turnover will affect the efficiency and success of the company even more. On the contrary, if a leader uses the soft power of discussion and influences the people by addressing the issues faced by the company due to work from home such as reduced efficiency, prolonged working hours, delays in meeting due to network issues. Also, it is difficult for managers to interact and build relationships with new employees virtually over the internet.
Motivation is another soft skill or the soft power which can be used by the leader to persuade the employees. Motivation is the factor that decides the behavior of a person, the leader can give motivation in terms of monetary as well as non-monetary rewards to influence the people to increase their efficiency with focused working in the office hour under the same roof. It is also essential to explain the role of distinct office and leisure time for enjoying life while completing the duties. During the work from home schedule, people are managing work and home at the same time which leads to distraction in both and none of the work is managed well leading to reduced efficiency (Appelbaum et.al, 2016). Therefore, making employees understand the limitations of working at home would be useful which can be explained using personal power and less through positional power.
'Lead with people' the positional power of a leader is restricted to the official meetings, discussions, decision making, and formal tours. Whereas personal power is achieved when the leader leads with the people. The greatest motivation for employees is the leader's behavior, therefore, in this situation, a leader working from the office will influence the followers to work in the office.
The task to persuade anyone is related to the social, interactive, and personal skills that have no relations with the positional power. However, social interactive skills are the base of personal power. Integrity and intention of the leader are the basis of personal power, the intention of the leader in this situation must be to encourage and empower the employees and the same must be reflected by the actions (Lolli, 2013). When the employees will understand the personal benefits team benefits, and the profit of the organization which would be rewarded as the incentives, the employee would be eager to change the schedule, they attained during the pandemic.
Therefore, it is important to use personal power more for convincing, persuading, and motivating the employees for working in an office in the pandemic duration where everyone is frightened due to the infection. The positional power must only be used for necessary actions such as providing necessary arrangements for the precautions, preparing the budget for sanitization, and other important arrangements to prevent the spread of the Corona virus.
Leadership style is the strategies and methods used by the leader to influence the employees to achieve the goals and objectives of the organization. People vary in terms of their leadership skills to manage the employees and workers of the organization. The impact of leadership is represented in the behavior of employees towards the leader which defines the leader-follower relationship. There are various approaches to leadership based on the traits of a leader. As per me, the best approaches for leadership that help to maintain an effective leader-follower relation, are situational leadership and LMX theory.
Not all projects, situations, goals, and objectives are the same, therefore, the leadership approach used to manage the situation must also vary according to the situation. The leader needs to order the employees when required, convince the employees, blend in with the employees, and so on depending upon the requirement of the situation. Following the monotonous behavior in all situations such as commanding nature in all situations can lead to rejection of the decisions by the employees (Thompson and Glasø, 2018). Similarly, being extremely liberal in all situations can lead to misbehavior of the employees leading to decreased efficiency and increased backlogs of the work. Therefore, a leader when adopts the situational approach, can easily overcome different situations in the business.
The other approach used to build an effective relationship between follower and leader is the LMX theory approach which is the Leader-Member Exchange theory. The theory explains the reason behind a leader's behavior towards different types of people and how it must be managed. The theory explains that the relationship between a leader and the followers is established in three stages, role-taking, role making, and routinizing. The first step refers to the formal interaction and noticing the work of the employee, the second phase of role making is the determination of employee's behavior subconsciously by the leader (Graen and Schiemann, 2013). The leader puts the people in two groups, the ones with ideal behavior in the in-group and the less favorable ones in the out-group. And the last phase of the routinizing where the challenging work is given to the in-group whereas the easy work is been given to the out-group people. This subconscious bifurcation of the team member can disrupt the relationship between the leader and the team members. Therefore, it is important to understand the reason behind the unfavorable behavior of the employees in the role-taking phase (Gu et.al, 2015 ). A leader must analyze the members in the out-group and identify the reason to distinguish them fromthe out-zone.
The leader must provide another chance for the employee to re-establish the relationship. This re-establishment of relationships can be facilitated with one-on-one interactions to discuss life goals, intentions, and problems in the work. It is important to know if the employee is satisfied with the job or not, what are the skills of the employee and what can keep the employee engagement to achieve more. The factor that motivates the employee to achieve more. Once this is conducted, and the leader is aware of the insecurities and strengths of the team member, the employees must be provided training and opportunities to overcome the restrictions towards achieving the personal as well as organization's goals. When a leader works for the employee and motivates the employee towards career planning, a strong relationship is made between the followers and the leader and this relationship is beneficial for the overall success of the organization. Unity in the workplace is important to establish a motivating organizational culture.
The combination of situational and LMX approaches is useful to maintain an inspiring organization culture that promotes the success of all (Graen et.al,2018). The leader needs to maintain a balance between friendly and commanding nature, excess of commands can lead to resistance from the employee similarly, extreme friendly behavior can lead to ignorance of the orders and unprofessionalism. This explains the requirement of the situational approach to leadership. A leader must empower people to deliver the best services. The success of an organization and leadership lies in the success of employees, therefore providing learning opportunitiesto the employees builds a positive impact on the relationship of leader and followers.
Appelbaum, N.P., Dow, A., Mazmanian, P.E., Jundt, D.K. and Appelbaum, E.N., 2016. The effects of power, leadership and psychological safety on resident event reporting. Medical education, 50(3), pp.343-350.
Graen, G. B., &Schiemann, W. A. (2013). Leadership?motivated excellence theory: an extension of lmx. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 28(5), 452-469. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMP-11-2012-0351
Graen, G., Canedo, J. C., & Grace, M. (2018). Adapting lmx theory to forthcoming changes: two different frameworks. Industrial and Organizational Psychology, 11(3), 531-535. https://doi.org/10.1017/iop.2018.107
Gu, Q., Tang, T. L.-P., & Jiang, W. (2015). Does moral leadership enhance employee creativity? employee identification with leader and leader-member exchange (lmx) in the chinese context. Journal of Business Ethics, 126(3), 513-529. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-013-1967-9
Lolli, J.C., 2013. Interpersonal communication skills and the young hospitality leader: Are they prepared?. International journal of hospitality management, 32, pp.295-298.
Lunenburg, F.C., 2012. Power and leadership: An influence process. International journal of management, business, and administration, 15(1), pp.1-9.
Shah, S., 2015. Where does the power lie? Gender, leadership, and positional power. Women leading education across the continents: Overcoming the barriers, pp.165-172.
Thompson, G., &Glasø, L. (2018). Situational leadership theory: a test from a leader-follower congruence approach. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 39(5), 574-591. https://doi.org/10.1108/LODJ-01-2018-0050
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