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Leadership

EMBA Full Time Ayesh Goburdhun 18.12.13

Section A Question 1 Women have excellent leadership skills, in fact even more than the men with respect to efficient and effective performance when they are in charge of doing something. For women there are two major areas of resistance, one from their very own side; they feel themselves helpless and with low initiative, second the community around considers them of no use as decision makers. It is very difficult for women to maintain their integrity and be dominant as a successor. It is very difficult for women to maintain their integrity and be dominant as a successor. Women are allowed to perform their best while maintaining their integrity and self-respect. They can earn respect, sources, goodwill and what so ever a man can.

Leadership may be considered as the process of influencing the activities of an organized group in its efforts toward goal setting and goal achievement. (Stogdill, 1950: 3). Leadership is the behaviour of an individual when someone is directing the activities of a group toward a shared goal. (Hemphill & Coons, 1957: 7). Leadership is also an interaction between two or more members of a group that often involves a structuring or restructuring of the situation and the perceptions and expectations of membersLeadership occurs when one group member modifies the motivation or competencies of others in the group. Any member of the group can exhibit some amount of leadership (Bass, 1990: 19-20)

A good leader is a change agent; the ability to design and initiate change and its real time execution is the responsibility. As discussed by Herzberg disturbance handling is the key role of a good manager and ultimately for a good leader, e.g. a good leader is supposed to be prominent and at a visible position when there is some disturbance or unwanted event has happened.

Chandler states that women have slowly emerged in top executive positions: women bring to the exercise of leadership an arsenal of strengths. Women in top corporate positions have redefined the rules of business and leadership (the increase of female leaders has produced new approaches to the exercise of leadership). Although women have moved into more managerial positions, they still have not emerged into the top executive leadership positions nor do they earn salaries commensurate with those of men for the same jobs.

According to a recent study by the United States Government Accountability Office, in 2007, women accounted for 40% of managers in the U.S. workforce. That percentage has only increased by one percentage point since 2000, indicating nearly a decade of stagnation. When looking at the largest companies, only 15% of all Fortune 500 Company directors are women. Furthermore, in those same companies, women account for only 6% of executives and 3% of CEOs. Women account for only 2.8% of Fortune 1000 company CEOs. In 2010, Hansen, Ibarra and Peyer published an analysis of the 100 best-performing CEOs worldwide, and only one woman. Globally, women are under-represented on corporate boards and executive committees. While they hold 16% of directorships in North America, women hold only 9% of those roles in Europe and 2% in Asia. Women hold 15% of executive committee positions in North America, compared to 4% in Europe and 2% in Asia. Moreover, these disparities appear to extend beyond the private sector.

According to a gender statistics study of the further education sector in the U.K., women are also under-represented at the senior leadership level, despite growth in female employment in the sector.

According to data from a large-scale survey by Catalyst of MBA alumni who graduated between 1996 and 2007, men had greater career advancement satisfaction than women at all managerial levels except for entry-level.

Women are leaving the corporate world and starting their own companies or small businesses. Being an owner and entrepreneur allows women more control and autonomy over how and when they work. Another key factor in womens failure to achieve leadership positions at parity with men is what people perceive as effective leadership traits versus actual effective traits. According to Eagly and Carli (2007), many people hold the perception that an effective leader is a male. This is because more argentic traits (characterized by aggression, ambition, domination, selfconfidence and force) are all thought to be indicative of an effective leader.

Business leaders and employees have varying views about diversity, which is one factor impacting womens under-representation in leadership roles. Such cognition-based obstacles include underlying prejudice and biases regarding women in leadership, lack of stakeholder buy-in for the business case for diversity, and organizations perceptions regarding effective leadership attributes, and who possesses them. Womens participation in leadership could also have been affected by the implications of the socio-economic way of life from pre-colonial era as well whose structure and hierarchy of women in society was determined by race to which the women at the top of the hierarchy were white women, colored women and lastly black women. This could have been one of the major reasons that as a black economy, black women were castigated and have therefore cascaded down this disempowered mentality into generations after them. This is noted in as much that the rural girl is the most marginalized and has not come to see the light of day as she is brought to believe that she can be a worker and not be an employer or leader. In as much as the talk of women empowerment the rural girl still and even some of the urbanized girls do not understand the consequences of being empowered and how it can secure them to a brighter future and to rise up in order to become the leaders of tomorrow.

The manner and aspects in which women are expected to act when occupying these leadership roles as well becomes a major challenge to them. With different leadership styles available it seems somehow that not all of them are deemed appropriate for women. Women face challenges when assuming leadership roles as they come across as emotional creatures and when they exercise authority they are said to be unfair, harsh or just incompetent. The pressures that come with being a leader are also dependent on the environment, economics

and how promptly the decision has to be made. Sexism is also another factor that affects women in leadership. A womans appearance, the manner in which she talks, and especially when she is in a male dominated area she is required to act differently than other women in other areas. A woman is then subjected to covert discrimination in the form of old boys networks biased hiring practices and unfair distribution of resources, factors which also can limit the level to which they can express their leadership role to maximum capacity. The duration of ones leadership depends also on the type of leader they are; are they autocratic or democratic (participative) or are they laissez faire or paternalistic. Change leadership due to economics in the workforce can also affect ones position as a leader as the human resource can sometimes not adapt to change easily and a leader needs to find ways to motivate, encourage and empower their staff.

Women have a lot of qualities that men should consider and implement them in new kinds of leadership. One remarkable difference is the way that men and women tend to think. Psychologists report that when women cogitate, they gather details somewhat differently than men. Women integrate more details faster and arrange these bits of data into more complex patterns. As they make decisions, women tend to weigh more variables, consider more options, and see a wider array of possible solutions to a problem. Women tend to generalize, to synthesize, to take a broader, more holistic, more contextual perspective of any issue. Men are more likely to focus their attention on one thing at a time. They tend to compartmentalize relevant material, discard what they regard as extraneous data, and analyze information in a more linear, causal path. Womens brain architecture for web thinking has endowed them with another natural talent: mental flexibility. Mental flexibility is an essential trait of leadership in a dynamic global economy.

Women have other skills that enable them to lead. An exceptional female talent is the ability to find the right word rapidly basic articulation. Womens verbal skills begin to emerge in early childhood. Infant girls babble more than infant boys. They speak sooner, with longer utterances and more complex grammatical constructions.

Moreover, American women share this verbal fluency with women in Japan, Nepal, England, and every other country where these skills have been tested. Words were womens tools, women are born to talk. Anita Roddicks success could be an example of brilliant leadership. Indeed, Anita Roddick was born to Italian immigrant parents in Littlehampton in 1942. A natural rebel as a child, she trained as a teacher before undertaking a working trip around the world. The birth of the The Body Shop came about in 1976 due to a need by Roddick to create a livelihood for herself and her daughters while her husband was trekking across the Americas. The first Body Shop was basic and at first sold only 15 lines. Roddick was vocal in her support for social and environmental causes, including bans on animal testing. In 2006 the company Body Shop was sold to L'Oreal. From the beginning, The Body Shop was against animal testing and for Third World development, getting its materials from small communities in poorer countries like Guatemala (Aloe Vera) and Namibia (marula oil). Over the years, the scope of campaigns that Roddick had taken up and that Body Shop has supported in its storefronts grew and expanded. Roddick died in 2007.

Anita Roddick remains one of the most innovative and influential British business leaders of all time. Roddick was undoubtedly a business and social visionary of our time. She not only combined the powerful elements of entrepreneurship, strategic thinking and ethical leadership, she also truly believed that "businesses have the power to do good" and really lived her vision, without exception.

Section B Question 2

Sir Richard Branson was born in Shamley Green, Sulley in England in 1950. He is the CEO and founder of the Virgin Group which comprises of companies such as Virgin Blue, Virgin Mobile, Virgin Atlantic, Virgin finances, Virgin brides, Virgin cars, Virgin trains and many more. He was listed at number 85 in the list of 100 greatest Britons in 2002, but at the same time in 2003 was enlisted as number 86 in the list of worst Britons by the BBC. He is a controversial figure for example he openly said he would sell cannabis in his stores if it were legal. Despite all this, he has become one of the most popular and successful entrepreneurs and was knighted by the queen in 1999 for his entrepreneurship skills.

Sir Richard Branson is an iconic and legendary figure within business circles. His Virgin companies span the globe, while his thirst for brand domination and sense of adventure tell a story of an intriguing and thought provoking life sprinkled with danger, high risk tactics that push the boundaries of the possible, and an all-encompassing purpose that is built upon fairness and change. Add to this mix a charismatic person and an extraordinary business acumen, and we have one of the most well-known and iconic figures of todays business world

Richard Branson possesses good leader-member relations and treats his employees with due respect, like his family, even to the extent of inviting junior crew to his home for parties (Dearlove 2007). He invites employees to give feedback and contribute ideas. Virgins task structure is generally low as Branson gives his employees the freedom and initiative to be creative. There is no fixed procedure in which how things should be done (Dearlove 2007).

His organisation operates on a flat, non-hierarchical structure, made of clusters of companies that operate independently and given flexibility to run without much interference. Position power he proves to be a dominant thinker, and usually makes first-hand decisions himself. Looking at Fielders contingency theory, he belongs to being the intermediate style leader, who is equally task-motivated and socio-independent.

Branson is defined as a prospector, and owns strong contingency and situational leadership skills. Branson is always looking out for and takes every opportunity to venture into new viable businesses. He is also prompt in managing situations and is a high risk-taker.

His willingness to take up joint ventures and partnerships with established companies has allowed Virgin to enter into complex markets without the need to start an organisation from scratch, hence eliminating unnecessary costs associated with new start-ups. For instance, Virgins 50:50 joint-venture with Norwich Union, United Kingdoms leading financial services company, enabled Virgin to enter into the financial market easily. Branson has proved himself to be a good leader in driving his path goal approach towards leadership, always setting a direction for others to follow, leading to success. Based on the characteristics of group members and the demands of the task, he adopts different leadership behaviours to suit the two elements of situation.

The Hersey Blanchard situational leadership model indicates Branson being flexible in considering how he should lead based on the tasks nature. In seeking new business opportunities. He usually adopts the directive behaviour, knowing the required tasks and how to perform them. He sets the direction, explain decisions and provide opportunity for clarification. Participation is allowed for employees to share ideas and facilitate in decision making. Upon success of a business venture, Branson places trusts in his staff and their capability to do work and empowers them with full autonomy.

He has also proven to be strong in the ability to implement changes quickly. Virgin Cola in US was able to change its strategy, management and location of its soft drinks business, concentrating on new age drinks such as fruit juices and energy beverages when it saw no prospect in the war against Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola in the Cola business.

Branson demonstrated charismatic leadership when he gave employees in his airline his personal phone number and encouraged them to contribute ideas and suggestions for areas of improvements by talking to him directly. In conclusion, Bransons charismatic style of leadership is one that stems from a largely transformational approach to how he influences those in his organisation. He shows clear skills in his ability to read the emotions of others and to assess the mood of his own culture, while having tremendous skills in how he can adapt his style and approach to the particular situation or context he is in. His drive and determination to succeed has been a key element of his success. His success in becoming and remaining an effective leader of Virgin is largely due to his willingness and ability to empower individuals within the organization.

References
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