When I was in high school, I worked as a crew at a fast food restaurant. My job consisted of a variety of tasks; I was assigned to prepare sandwiches and other meals served in the restaurant, do the dishes, and clean the store. Thus, I had to move fast to get the job done within the standard time. My performance was monitored by the store manager. It was only a temporary job, so I was not able to get to know my boss well. However, within the short time that I worked there, I had to tolerate his obstinacy. He was very authoritarian and made all the decisions.
For him, what mattered most was the crew did their tasks accordingly. Because he focused on getting the job done, I believe that using a behavioral approach, specifically the initiating structure dimension, can best describe the manager’s leadership style. He also structured the crew’s tasks to ensure that we were never idle; we had to be productive all the time. The standards we followed served as our goals. For instance, I had to produce a certain number of sandwiches within a specified time period. If I did not meet the required number of sandwiches, it means that I was underperforming.
According to Draft (2001 cited in the required reading), one of the tasks an effective leader does is to set direction for his subordinates. Setting direction involves initiating structure and consideration (Draft, 2001, cited in the required reading). Initiating structure requires the leader to guide the behaviors of employees toward the pertinent organizational goals. One of the ways to achieve these goals is to assess the performance of workers and provide them with feedback to let them know at which areas they excel and on which areas they need to improve.
After receiving their performance feedback, they are expected to accomplish their tasks more effectively, improving organizational productivity as a result. My previous boss did provide us feedback, although he did so in terms of telling us how we are not following what he said, not in terms of how we were doing our jobs. He was stubborn to the extent that he wanted us to follow exactly how he wanted us to accomplish our tasks. His method made everyone to feel restrained. Still, his stubbornness caused our improvement and set the direction towards the completion of our tasks.
On the other hand, consideration includes people-oriented behaviors such as care for subordinates, openness, sociability, mutual respect, and high-involvement in decision-making (Draft, 2001, cited in the required reading). During the short time that I worked under my previous superior, I found him to be a bit aloof and introverted. He did not disclose personal information to his crew. He also made all the decisions without considering our opinion. However, there was mutual respect between him and the crew. We respected him because of his seniority and his knowledge of the operations.
He also respected us as a person by believing in our capabilities. An effective leader also creates and maintains commitment by motivating the employees (Draft, 2001, cited in the required reading). While I was working as a fast food crew, it seemed that this task was also not on my previous superior’s to-do-list. As his focus was to ensure that we get our job done, he did not care so much about our personal interests. Perhaps, it was because he knew that most of us were only doing the job temporarily, so he did not encourage us to work harder, to set personal goals, and develop a sense of commitment to the company.
Still, I believe that if he motivated us to commit to the important goals of the company and acknowledge our good performance, I would have felt a sense of job satisfaction. I may have also stayed longer with the company and worked harder. (2) After college, I worked as a sales associate for a time at a lumber sales company (84 Lumber). My job entailed dealing with walk-in customers. I explained the products to the customers and talked them into buying our products. I was also tasked to stock the store shelves. It was a very task-oriented job.
It was also an entry level position, so I had no freedom to make my own decisions. I always had to consult my boss who was responsible for making all the decisions and assigning tasks to me and my fellow sales associates. He also assigned the tasks which we had to complete, and it was important for him that we do our jobs well and give our best. Although we had no freedom in terms of making decisions, he encouraged us to give out our best performance by setting a high standard. This standard involves turning potential customers to real customers, which was assessed by the sales amount.
If the employees exceeded this standard (i. e. , a certain amount of sales), the company provided additional compensation. My previous boss also regularly assessed our performance and provided performance feedback to inform us of how much more sales we need to make in order to reach the standard, and how much more to surpass it. According to the path-goal theory, my previous boss was an effective leader. This theory suggests that an effective leader provides employees the path to goal attainment and other opportunities for satisfaction.
Specifically, he exhibited the direct path-goal clarifying leader behavior by constantly informing us of our standing (House, 1970, cited in the required reading). He encouraged us to achieve the standard performance and go beyond it so that we can enjoy additional compensation. He also demonstrated an achievement-oriented leader behavior by motivating us to do our job well and challenging us to surpass the standard (House, 1970, cited in the required reading). (3) After working for a lumber sales company, I worked as a project manager at a construction company.
My required me to manage various construction projects, from conceptualization of design to construction. My superior was a micromanager; he watched and controlled every move I made. This is because he had a certain way of doing things which he wanted me to follow to the detail. He was very stubborn about this, so there was no escaping it. He also constantly wanted to be involved with decisions. Hence, I rarely made decisions. He stubbornly insisted that I follow what he said, limiting my growth in the position.
Based on the Leader-Member Exchange or LMX model, in terms of competence and skills, trustworthiness, and motivation to assume greater responsibility, my micromanager boss and I had a low-LMX relationship. According to Graen and Uhl-Bien (1995), a low-LMX relationship is characterized by a constrained transactional contract between the leader and the subordinate (cited in the required reading). The leader does not trust his or her subordinates as they are perceived to be incompetent. Thus, they assume less responsibility. Perhaps, this theory best explains my previous superior’s behavior.
He closely monitored my movement because maybe he did not trust me enough and feared that I would commit a grave mistake. After all, the company’s transactions involved high risks, since a huge amount of money could be lost with a single wrong move. (4) Currently, I am an assistant regional sales manager. I am responsible for the sales performance of a 100 million dollar region. My usual tasks involve calling on clients, working with architects, and designing projects with building owners. My superior is a mentor type of leader.
He inspires his subordinates to reach not only the company goals, but our personal goals as well. He also gives me the freedom to do my job and achieve my goals according to my own method. He also allows me to make my own decisions and do what I feel is necessary to get the job done. Whenever I commit mistakes, he offers constructive criticism by pinpointing the areas which I need to improve on and giving advice on how to perk up my performance. We regularly and openly communicate with each other, and he maintains the same kind of relationship with his other subordinates.
He took the time to get to know us better, so some of us are close to him on an intimate level. He provides support and encourages me to aim high. He is a great speaker and I really look up to him. By working for this company and under a superior like him, I feel that there is much room for career growth and self-development. In line with my superior’s behavior and characteristics mentioned in the previous paragraph, I believe that he employs a transformational leadership style.
According to Bass (1985), this leadership style entails sharing a vision with subordinates and peers and influencing them to become committed to the goals of the organization (cited in the required reading). It also involves inspiring them through charisma or idealized influence (i. e. , stimulating their desire to emulate their superior), inspirational motivation (i. e. , providing them a reason to aim high), intellectual stimulation (i. e. , encouraging them to use critical and creative thinking to obtain a clearer understanding of the problem and devise possible solutions), and individualized consideration (i.
e. , recognizing them individually, giving them support, and providing opportunities to grow) (Bass and Steidlmeier, 1999, cited in the required reading). Indeed, the leadership style of my current boss is transformational. He has never failed to inspire and empower me to reach for my goals and attain them at my pace through my own means. He gives us the liberty to do our job in our own terms not only because he believes in our capabilities, but also because he wants us to grow and learn from our experiences so that we can improve ourselves.
Therefore, by providing us freedom, he poses a challenge for us. His encouragement also caused many of us to stay committed to achieving company and personal goals. He knows his subordinates well in terms of personality and performance, and adjusts the way he provides us support based on what he believes can motivate us. Because of his experience and achievement, many of us regard him with utmost respect, and his influence has caused positive changes for many of his subordinates.