Detailsof the experience
Iwas working with a certain company as part of the printing group.That is when I experienced negative leadership behaviors. Employeesused to conflict all the time and the managers were only ignoringwhat was happening in hope that it will soon end. Time was wasted andthen it led to reduction in employees’ turnover because all thatwas heard was complaints from different work mates. The juniorleaders did not have enough courage to face the senior manager andinform him of the situation escalation and its effect on theorganization’s operations. His decisions were final and expected usto work with what was available at that time. This unmanaged andunresolved conflict led to the escalation and the progress of theorganization was affected immensely.
Iwas among the three employees who were in conflict because there wasonly one printer in the company. The senior manager was informed butthere were no efforts to purchase an additional printer, or to repairthe broken one. This issue led to a conflict because the company hadmany jobs that required printing. One employee could stay with theprinter for long and inconvenience the other two. To make mattersworse, the manager used to give unrealistic deadlines and emphasizedon penalties that led to us rushing to do the job. This too muchpressure led to stress amongst ourselves hence, the emergence of theconflict. No one wanted to lose their job. Also, every employeewanted to look good to their employer but the printer issue washindering all our efforts. Both efficiency and productivity decreasedbecause we were feeling bad about this, but we had no means toovercome the problem. All we cared and thought about was theconflict, pushing the organizational goals on the back of our minds.
Themanager thought that it was costly to add another printer, withoutthe consideration of the effect it would have on the entireorganization. He wanted things to be done the way he wanted and notthe way others thought best. The situation was made worse because wehad different personality. His response was that he had better thingsto do with his time than to deal with uncompetitive employees. Thisabusive language was used to every employee who tried to question hisdecisions. Consequently, many employees were hurt emotionally makingcommunication in the working place hard. Every individual was doinghis or her job just to see the end of the day. There were threats toquit job from some employees, some were even planning to boycott orhold a strike to overthrow the negative senior manager, increasedabsenteeism and compensation claims related to stress. Thedisturbances in the company led to great lose due to employees losingsight of the company’s goals and concentrating on the intenseconflicts.
Theleadership behavior analysis
Thesenior manager’s leadership behavior can be termed as autocratic.He made the company’s decisions without the input of the juniormanagers and other employees (Burns, 2000). His will was final sincehe had total authority and used it upon us.
Iunderstand that conflicts are part of our lives both in the personaland at the workplace. They are natural, normal, and it is very hardto avoid them. Conflict when well resolved become helpful in therelationships we make with others. On the other hand, unresolvedconflicts can lead to many problems like feelings of hopelessness,dissatisfaction, depression, unhappiness, and other emotion relatedproblems. All these problems can lead to job resignation, aggression,violence, and emotional or physical withdrawal at the working place(Fisher, 2004). In the working environment, workers care and valuethe outcome thus, a clash of goals, values, and perceptions lead toconflict. Negative leaders ignore conflict resolution skills thuscausing disputes in the working place. A working environment with anegative leader is full of disputes, disagreement, cases of violence,theft, and underproductive employees (Keller man, 2004).
Employeeswho questioned him were either shunned away or threatened with harshpenalties like work with no pay. The leadership style only benefitedthe employees who needed close supervision from the senior manager.Use of one printer was his final decision and no one had theauthority to voice their solutions for the benefit of theorganization. The manager ignoring the conflicts brought about by theuse of printer, and using abusive language when asked about thesituation, made employees lose their self esteem. As a result, casesof emotional and stress started to rise in the company. Employeeswent on withstanding his abusive conditions that led to furtherdeterioration of the company’s development. These inactions andactions made my fellow working group develop a feeling that thesenior manager does not care and respect us at all. The badleadership he portrayed shut off the innovation, creativity, and theproductivity potential we had. These actions made us to look likerobots that only waited for instruction from him only.
Accordingto Smith & Foti (2008), the senior manager’s management stylewas a top down one and was based on command and control. This kind ofmanagement style does not listen to the employees’ ideas,suggestions, complaints, and comments. It ignores the basic needs ofthe workers. Consequently, a knowledge barrier is created and theleaders ignore the operations at the working place, making the goalsand visions of the organization misguided and irrelevant.
Recommendationsfor leadership behavior improvement
Itisimportant for leaders to realize that when employees are treated inan effective manner, they produce the best results. Good leadershipcares and respects every employee for better production. Shea (1999)suggests that when a leader treats his or her employee as if they areof value and important, they in turn feel important and valuable,thus treating their organizational work, management, and customers inthe same way. In this case, the senior manager should have listenedto the complaints, concerns, personal issues, and suggestions causingthe conflict, and find better ways to solve it. Listening to thejunior managers could have helped in a big way.
Thequestion leaders need to ask themselves is whether what theydemonstrate as leaders will make their followers better or worsepeople. Leaders should always be positive and therefore should avoidquestionable behaviors that demonstrate negativity to theiremployees. Their intentions should be planned in advance, clarified,and they should have a good personal relationship with the fellowworkers. Another recommendation I would suggest is that the managerhas the responsibility of ensuring that all employees are comfortablein their working environment for better results. As in this case, theenvironment was not suitable since the conflicts also led toirritating noise that caused disturbances to other employees. Raisingthe high standards of the equipment could also have been a goodsolution for the conflict. Although the senior manager trusted us todo the printing job, he did not allow us to complain about theworking condition of the equipment. The best thing he was supposed todo is to allow everyone to put forward their suggestions of how tosolve that problem, and making sure not to give strict orders aboutthe deadlines, knowing well that the problem was not the employeesbut the printing machine. He was supposed to give us direction butwhat he did is to ignore the problems. The employees therefore werenot running the organization on the same page. This situation laggedthe organization backwards. A good leadership ensures that the visionset by all is communicated to every team member (Smith et al., 2008).
Ifthe junior members were given the opportunity to be respected andheard, then they could have given tremendous contributions and usedtheir brainpower for more innovation, unleash new creativity, becomehighly motivated and committed, thus improving the productivity ofthe organization. As a result, high morale is achieved and coming towork become a pride to majority of them. Adequate support was alsovital in our case.
Whatthe manager lacked is good communication that is vital for everyleader. Precise, honest and motivational communication could havesolved the emerging conflicts at that time. Communication causesconflict and as well solves it. Our lives could have been made betterand productive if the senior manager communicated with us effectivelyand resolved our disputes in a satisfactory manner. Learning ofskills related to conflict resolution and management should be a mustto all leaders. When implemented well, they become productive hencecreating peace among workers. According to Burn (2000) recognition ofthe problem and addressing it earlier and in an effective mannercould have solved all the difficulties we encountered while using theprinting machine.
Themanager also should have allowed open communication in ourorganization to manage, prevent, and resolve conflict. We lackedcommunication and conflict was buried, making it intense and theconsequence was a spiral of hostility and misunderstandings amongstourselves. According to Foti et al. (2008) good communicationenhances cooperation and assistance in the working place. Cooperationincreases the interaction which can also lead to conflict. To avoidthis from happening, it is important for a leader to direct followersto be understanding of other’s ideas, priorities, needs, and pointof view. A leader with conflict resolution skills increases the levelof participation and teamwork in an organization (Fisher, 2004).Training us was also of importance. Despite the issue of one printingmachine, the leader had the responsibility to offer training on howwe could have mediated and solved the conflict ourselves. Solving thedispute on our own could have empowered us to venture new ways andtechniques of solving conflict at that time and in the future.
ResearchSupporting the assessment and recommendations of Negative LeadershipBehavior
Leadershipcan be defined as a process whereby a group of people are influencedby an individual or individuals towards achievement of a specific andcommon goal (Burn, 2000). Negative leadership is characterized bybehaviors of leaders who try all attempts to command and controltheir followers through policies, orders, rules, targets, goals,visions, reports, and designs of the organization are changed to withthe aim of forcing employees to produce what is termed as effectiveand satisfactory by the leader (Keller man, 2004). In addition, thistype of leadership does not allow the followers to make decisions.The management decides what is best for all and gives decisions onwhat is to be done, how it is done, and when it is to be done. Suchleaders have time to listen to only the employees they like.According to Keller man (2004), in most cases, negative leadership isas a result of leader’s intelligence and charm, followeradmiration, and a supportive environment. Bad leadership uses feartactics to confront the workers. The tactics force the employees tofulfill work goals and objectives in a given limited period of time.Others may be forced to meet deadlines as fast as possible.Termination threats, denial of raises and promotions, and work withno pay are some of the threats used by negative leaders.
Accordingto Shea (1999) favoritism to some employees characterizes the natureof negative leaders. The employees who do not receive any supportfeel uncared and disrespected. On the other hand, the favoredfollowers follow the steps of the leader to a point of even imitatingthe negative aspects, attitudes, and behaviors of the leader. Leaderswho are negative act in an arrogant manner. They develop a feeling ofsuperiority over their employees. Their opinions matters above otherpeoples’ opinions, in case of a disagreement, they tend to seeothers people mistake as well as think that the ultimate goal oftheir followers is to fulfill their leader’s personal objectives(Shea, 1999). According to Fisher (2004), when there are shifts inthe industry and market, a leader who is negative experiencedifficulties to change the practices, goals, equipments, and alsopolicies of the organization. This is lack of flexibility. Flexibleleaders ensure that their companies are steered towards success in aneffective way.
Inconclusion, negative leadership affects the morale and confidence ofemployees. Consequently, the organizational productivity reduces andcustomer dissatisfaction cases rise. Negative leadership should bespotted earlier, and acted upon in an effective manner to preventdisputes and problems that might affect the progress of theorganization towards success.
Burns,J. M. (2000). Leadership.Newyork: Harper and Row.
Fisher,B. (2004). SmallGroup Decision Making: Communication and the Group Process.New York: Mc-Graw Hill.
Keller,B. (2004). Badleadership: What It is, how it happens, why it Matters.Boston: Harvard Business School Press.
Shea,M. (1999). The Effect of Leadership Style on Performance Improvementon a Manufacturing Task.The Journal of Business,72 (3), 407-422.
Smith,J. A., & Foti, R. J. (2008). A pattern Approach to the Study ofLeader Emergence. LeadershipQuarterly,9(2), 147-160.