Leadership and Strategic Management

Question:

Give an explanation on Leadership and Strategic Management.

Answer:

The relationship that lies between strategic management and leadership can be understood by the example of effective management and good leadership (Ciulla 2013). It has been noticed that when a great leadership is collaborated with effective management, setting the directions and allocating the resources become possible. Moreover, the goals will be achieved in the way it has been thought.   

Strategic management is an organization’s core part that is involved in the development of various innovative strategies for the prosperity of the organization (Riggio and Tan 2013). For implementing a potential strategy, a strong level of leadership is required. Therefore, leadership and strategic management are interrelated factors that are essential for the progress of an organization.

Here the chosen organization is Alinta Apparels Pty. Ltd., a popular apparel brand in Australia. They have taken a strategic objective to enhance their business (Ward and Peppard 2016). To achieve the particular objective, the company has made a plan in their strategic management to motivate their employees so that they can work in a more efficient and effective way (Fee, Hadlock and Pierce 2013). In order to drive the manpower by motivation, an effective leadership is required. The company should choose those managers to motivate their employees for providing quality work who have the proven capabilities to lead their team. Such leadership will guide the employees to perform in a superior way resulting to better financial position of the company. The company will not be able to meet its objectives if it has made good strategic planning but they do not have the right person for motivating the employees to execute the strategy. 

Analysis of Leadership Styles and Management’s impact on strategic decisions 

The leadership and management styles in Alinta Apparels Pty Ltd. have a significant contribution in making decisions at strategic level (Johnston and Marshall 2016). The leader in the company performs their duties through directing the employees, controlling, coordinating and motivating them for executing the strategy. The leader motivates the employees to give their best performance for accomplishing the final mission of the business. The management and leadership styles can make an impact on the strategic decisions if appropriate leadership style is adopted (Fee, Hadlock and Pierce 2013). Alinta Apparels Pty. Ltd. should have the knowledge about which leadership style will be utilized in which type of strategic decision.

 The environment of business in the current era is very much competitive. Therefore, company should use best leadership and management skills to make strategic decisions in order for achieving the goals (Du et al. 2013). A correct style of leadership is required for the organization for being successful. If appropriate leadership style is not followed, then the company will not be able to reach the position to meet the objectives of its business. 

In the Australia based apparel company, if the management has a strategic objective to enhance their business, the managers have to adopt democratic leadership styles where the employees or followers will participate in the decision making process regarding how to make the work structure more systematic to ensure more productivity (Cummings and Worley 2014). Their suggestions will help to make a proper decision regarding the work procedure. The new procedure will ensure more efficiency and effectiveness of the employees resulting to more prosperity of the company.

How leadership styles have been adapted for meeting the challenges in two different situations and organizational contexts

Leadership styles should be adopted as per the need of the situations. In an organization, there can be different situations, which will demand different leadership styles (Chemers 2014). In Alinta Apparels Pty. Ltd., there may be a situation where the company wants to reduce the time required for manufacturing a product in order to increase the production rate. In such case, the company’s lower level managers will adopt the democratic leadership style where the workers in the factory will be given opportunity to provide suggestions for improving the manufacturing process. They will actively participate in the decision making process regarding the process restructuring in the factory (Moran, Abramson and Moran 2014). The managers will motivate them to provide good opinions so that decisions can be made to implement a new manufacturing process resulting to enhanced productivity.

 In case of the retail outlets, it becomes not possible for the management to track the non moving inventory on regular basis. The non-moving items increase the maintenance cost of the company. In order to sell those items, the low-level managers of Alinta Apparels Pty. Ltd. motivate their store employees to sell those products through effective marketing. The managers have the confidence that their employees will perform the sales by their own skills if they are properly motivated (Goleman, Boyatzis and McKee 2013). In such situation, Laissez-Faire leadership style is used. Here, it has been assumed that the store employees have enough skills and knowledge to make the decisions regarding sales of non-moving items (Landis, Hill and Harvey 2014). The leaders of the apparel company provide those employees the authority to make decisions on their own.  

Reviewing the impact of the management theories and leadership on the strategy of organisation

The theory of contingency of management states that manager makes the decisions on the basis of a particular situation. The manager takes the appropriate steps based on the aspects that are significant for the current situation (Cook 2014). In Alinta Apparels Pty. Ltd., the front line customer support managers want to make utilization of the leadership approach that involves employee participation where the leader in the senior level management wants to utilize an autocratic approach. 

The systems theory makes the manager to recognize how different the systems can affect the employees and how the employees affect the surrounding systems. The systems theory allows the managers for examining the patterns and the workplace events in Alinta Apparels Pty Ltd. (Bell, Kennebrew and Blyden 2015). It helps the managers for coordinating the programs to work as a whole for the company’s overall organizational mission rather than the isolated departments. 

In case of transformational leadership, the leader utilizes the charm of his personality for influencing his employees in order to achieve the organizational goals (Rothaermel 2015). He makes a psychological linking of the organizational strategies and the employee’s personal gain to achieve the objectives. The transformational theory of leadership can have the impact on the strategy of the organization. If Alinta Apparels Pty. Ltd. is going to follow a cost leadership or strategy for differentiation, then it cannot afford the high turnover rate (Grant 2016). It is because it incurs employee-training cost similarly with differentiation strategy. Manpower is an asset for the company so it cannot afford for losing it. Thus, the leader provides motivation to the employees in order to perform well which eventually reduces employee turnover rate.

The transactional leadership is based on the assumptions that the employees will perform in a better way if they are linked with their own interest. The style of leadership is based on punishment and rewards (Day et al. 2014). The theory can be utilized for achieving the organizational strategies by giving the task or directions to the employees. On the basis of their performance, they should be punished or rewarded. It can be used in such situations in the apparel company where issues are clearly defined, so that the employees can be asked for finding out solutions of the given task (Storey 2016). The employees are not allowed for providing their opinion and find other ways to solve problems. 

The transactional leadership style needs less creative ideas from their employees (Northouse 2015). In such case, the company has a definite formula and procedures, which do not promote employee participation in making decisions.

 Creating a strategy of leadership supporting the organizational direction 

In case of the apparel company, Alinta Apparels Pty. Ltd., the management wants to enhance their business in order to increase market share (Gurdjian, Halbeisen and Lane 2014). The top management has given the responsibility to the sales and marketing management to take the strategic moves in order to meet their objectives. Here the sales and marketing managers will develop an autocratic leadership strategy to motivate their sales force in order to achieve their sales target. 

The leadership strategy will be as follows,

Make the strategic objectives clear to the subordinates therefore communicate the message that the company wants to increase its market share (Storey 2016).

Understand the current market situation and position of your company and communicate it to the subordinates.

Get the market share details of all the rival companies. 

Prepare the report showing the current market position of your company.

Set new targets for sales for each apparel category.

Communicate the sales targets to your sales professionals.

Motivate them to achieve the target through offering attractive incentives (Day et al. 2014).

Keep track on the sales volume checking whether they are increasing and collect the feedback from the customers.

Motivate the sales professionals more to achieve their targets if their performances are not considered up to the mark.

Develop professionalism in the entire work.

Develop trust and belief in each other.

Develop respect to each other.

Usage of appropriate methods for reviewing the current leadership requirements 

In case of Alinta Apparels Pty. Ltd., the appropriate methods for reviewing the current leadership requirements are coaching, learning, communication and engaging (Grant 2016). 

The process of coaching and mentoring can enhance an individual’s morale, productivity and motivation. It can reduce the turnover of staff as the employees feel connected and valued with the changes taking place in the apparel company. It can be done by internal coaches or external professional agencies in order to motivate the employees of the organization.

The process of learning in Alinta Apparels Pty. Ltd. helps the employees to take new lessons, which will guide them to perform their work in an effective way. It will motivate them to stay dedicated towards their job.

The communication process is very important in the apparel company’s business as there are several external parties involved. The stakeholders, whether they are the customers, staffs or media are continuously sending information to each other. Without the different communication methods, the apparel company will not be able to develop the employees into possible leaders.

The method of engaging in the apparel company makes the employees to be more attached towards their work. It is very much cost effective. It creates a sense among them to be more dedicated with what they are doing (Rothaermel 2015). It can be done through adding more responsibilities in an employee’s job.

Planning for the future situation’s development that require leadership 

Alinta Apparels Pty. Ltd. is currently in a good position in the market. To maintain such competitive position and to enhance their financial health in future, the company has to make mergers and acquisitions with other profit making companies. Such mergers are never been easy and it requires a significant level of leadership to deal the situation (Bell, Kennebrew and Blyden 2015). The leaders have to deal with the backlash of the mergers with other apparel companies and they have to communicate with all the stakeholders in case of any possible takeover. Merging with other companies is very costly and to take advantage of any merger for the company’s future development needs good leadership (Cook 2014).  

A strong leadership is required in the functional areas of the apparel company. Such leadership will maintain optimum effectiveness in the functional areas such as finance, marketing, administration and human resources. Materials should be selected carefully for manufacturing apparels and reliable supplier selection should be done (Landis, Hill and Harvey 2014). These plans will help the company for the development of future situations.

Planning to develop the skills of leadership for a specific requirement 

Leadership is an important area for Alinta Apparels Pty. Ltd. The company has a fast moving business environment and they have to make future plans to sustain in the market. Therefore, it is very much important that the leaders of the future should develop the necessary skills that will help them to lead the apparel company in the correct direction (Goleman, Boyatzis and McKee 2013). Those leaders can plan the development of their leadership skills through formal learning and on the job training (Moran, Abramson and Moran 2014). 

In case of formal learning, Alinta Apparels Pty. Ltd. should groom their leaders and the employees to understand the several new products that are going to be introduced. The formal learning can be done through sending the employees and leaders to seminars and formal training (Fullan 2014).

On the job training is another method for the apparel company for the development of leadership skills. The process of on the job training is aimed for the enhancement of the abilities of the staffs in the apparel company’s corporate settings (Chemers 2014). Through the help of a good training, the leaders and the employees will be in a better position for leading the apparel company in the future.

Reporting the method’s usefulness that are used for planning the leadership skills development 

It is very much important for the leaders of Alinta Apparels Pty. Ltd. to develop their skills in order to cope with the challenges of the future, demand and globalization (Cummings and Worley 2014). In case of future leadership requirements, it is more significant that the method applied to improve the leadership skills should be more efficient and effective so that the apparel company can achieve its objective. 

The process of formal learning is a well-approved procedure in the apparel company for improving the leadership skills and getting ample knowledge about the forthcoming challenges. The extent of the leadership competencies acquired actually depends on the developmental activities such as on the job training, learning through experimentation and self-learning. 

The on the job training method makes the employee to learn better and become the apparel company’s best part. The experimental learning engages the employees for decision-making, problem solving and critical thinking (Chemers 2014). In case of self-learning, the employees of Alinta Apparels Pty. Ltd. are given online training materials so that they can learn at their own speed. They do not require for running after the top management for empowering themselves.

Conclusion

From the above discussions, it can be stated that, companies like Alinta Apparels Pty. Ltd. in Australia has many segments where autocratic leadership style of the senior management will not be applicable. Decisions should be made by the front-end managers in order to deliver quality services to their customers. Therefore, a democratic leadership style should be applied in the strategic management of the company so that the lower level employees get much more authority to take decisions on their own judgments. It will enhance the commitment of them towards their job responsibilities. It will eventually build a good image in the customer’s mind resulting to better customer satisfaction and increased market share. The overall result can take place through effective leadership and motivation. Therefore, it can be concluded that if a proper strategy is adopted as per the nature of the company’s business, it will lead to prosperity in the future.

References

Bell, R.L., Kennebrew, D. and Blyden, L., 2015. An Increasing Utility for the Early Management Theories: An Exploratory Study. International Journal of Management and Human Resources, 3(1).

Chemers, M., 2014. An integrative theory of leadership. Psychology Press.

Ciulla, J.B., 2013. Leadership ethics. Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Cook, A., 2014. Applying change management theories to support implementation of activity-based funding. Health Information Management,4(1), pp.17-19.

Cummings, T.G. and Worley, C.G., 2014. Organization development and change. Cengage learning.

Day, D.V., Fleenor, J.W., Atwater, L.E., Sturm, R.E. and McKee, R.A., 2014. Advances in leader and leadership development: A review of 25years of research and theory. The Leadership Quarterly, 25(1), pp.63-82.

Du, S., Swaen, V., Lindgreen, A. and Sen, S., 2013. The roles of leadership styles in corporate social responsibility. Journal of business ethics, 114(1), pp.155-169.

Fee, C.E., Hadlock, C.J. and Pierce, J.R., 2013. Managers with and without style: Evidence using exogenous variation. Review of Financial Studies,26(3), pp.567-601.

Fullan, M., 2014. Leading in a culture of change personal action guide and workbook. John Wiley & Sons.

Goleman, D., Boyatzis, R. and McKee, A., 2013. Primal leadership: Unleashing the power of emotional intelligence. Harvard Business Press.

Grant, R.M., 2016. Contemporary strategy analysis: Text and cases edition. John Wiley & Sons.

Gurdjian, P., Halbeisen, T. and Lane, K., 2014. Why leadership-development programs fail. McKinsey quarterly, 1, pp.121-126.

Johnston, M.W. and Marshall, G.W., 2016. Sales force management: Leadership, innovation, technology. Routledge.

Landis, E.A., Hill, D. and Harvey, M.R., 2014. A synthesis of leadership theories and styles. Journal of Management Policy and Practice, 15(2), p.97.

Moran, R.T., Abramson, N.R. and Moran, S.V., 2014. Managing cultural differences. Routledge.

Northouse, P.G., 2015. Leadership: Theory and practice. Sage publications.

Riggio, R.E. and Tan, S.J., 2013. Leader interpersonal and influence skills: The soft skills of leadership. Routledge.

Rothaermel, F.T., 2015. Strategic management. McGraw-Hill.

Storey, J. ed., 2016. Leadership in Organizations: Current Issues and Key Trends. Routledge.

Ward, J. and Peppard, J., 2016. The Strategic Management of Information Systems: Building a Digital Strategy. John Wiley & Sons.

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