Evaluate myself as a leader

Steve jobs talks about managing people inside Apple

After study the course of leadership, I finally got my own vision of leadership: Being a leader is not only about being a leader, but also about being a friend of the followers. The basic purpose of leadership is to establish a set of principles and believes inside the company, and follow this set of principles and believes, the followers will be guided and encouraged by leaders to complete a series of tasks and achieve the goals. The interaction is really important between leaders and followers, sometimes a leader can be sociable towards followers and therefore create a friendly atmosphere in the office, sometimes a leader can be strict and serious when something goes wrong or something important is undergoing. It is vital for leaders to establish their own style of leadership based on the specific situation and position of a company. For example, in a multi-national company like H&M, a diverse team should be hired by leaders to better operate the company in an internationally context and as more complicated situations could change in this context, the leaders in these companies should also have the ability to manage resistance to change. On the other hand, being an ethical leader could help a company to run an ethical business style and finally help the company to get an better image. I tend to use the Lassiez- Fair leadership style in my company in the fashion industry, for this style of leadership controls little over the company and let team workers to work on their own ideas freely and it is the most suitable style for fashion industry.

Steve Jobs is the one who inspired me most how to carry out the effective leadership. Apple is an innovative company, just like any company requiring innovation in fashion industry. It designs, develops and leads the consumer electronics in the electronic industry. Therefore innovation is highly valued in Apple and a leader of this company should encourage employees to be creative and conduct the corresponding way to carry out the leadership style. In the interview of Steve Jobs, I identify several points that do inspire me to establish a right leadership style in fashion industry: Apple is a highly collaborative company, although it has been established for so many years, it is still like a startup. Steve Jobs met the team workers three hours per week to work on new ideas and solve problems happened during the process of design and development of the products. In addition, through better communication between leaders and followers, the trust can be established between them, so that no extra efforts have to be put to guardian the process of development. Also, Job Steve created a suitable working environment for employees to give play to their creativity and make their own decisions to contribute their own ideas. The leadership style of Steve Jobs inspired me to communicate effectively with employees and create a good working environment for employees to encourage creativity.
My colleagues help me identify several strengths that I have in leadership. Firstly, I am an ethical person with the ethical values and believes in my mind, an ethical leadership can guide a company to run an ethical business. Secondly, being a good speaker and a good listener as well, I can communicate with people without any obstacles and they like to talk to me, it is quite easy for me to encourage people to do the right thing. Also, I can learn new things quickly, hence I can get what just happened quickly and lead the team to solve a specific problem effectively. Finally, I am enthusiastic about work, which can give me more power in carrying out works.
However, not everyone is born as a leader. Leadership can be learned through process. My hope is that I can one day become a leader who can make things happen that would not happen otherwise without my directions. I still have some weaknesses in leadership. Firstly, I am not a good risk taker, a leader is supposed to take risks and should recognise good ideas from others or from the communities inside the company and all changes of circumstances come with risks and challenges. Secondly, I do not have a vision of what the company would be like or what would happen in the future, this could due to lack of work experience. Therefore through my process of MBA, I will be keen on developing the weakness I have now to become a better leader in the future.

Ethical leadership

Recorded at Cornell University in the Spring of 2009, Ms. Toffler discusses ethics in management and leadership.

Introduction

Due to several scandals of unethical issues such as Enron scandal happened in recent years, this world is paying more attention to ethical behaviours in business world. According to Quoting Els(2009), the ‘ Obama effect’ refers to the emphasis on ethical and values-based leadership and is against the specific only interests of some stakeholders such as shareholders. Therefore the interests of some other stakeholders such as the customers, environment, and employees should be taken into account when leaders are making some decisions. Therefore, this blog is aimed at pointing out the different sides of the debate of ethical leadership and then give an example from fashion industry to illustrate the ethical leadership in fashion industry .

Different sides of the debate

According to the research conducted by Brown, Trevino&Harrison(2005) , the definition of ethical leadership is that leaders in an organisation should behave in the right way which is should also be believed in the organisation as the core values and cultures. Through conducting the right behaviours in both organisational and individual context,leaders can encourage and lead the followers to behave in the same way. The effectiveness of ethical leadership can be reflected in several aspects: how to guide followers to complete a task in the ethical way; how to guide followers to live ethically everyday; how the leaders make the ethical decision. Similarly, Reilly(2006) points out that all leadership should be able to influence followers to behave a specific action. Effective leaders can not only guide followers how to behave, but also change the followers’ values and attitudes to the right direction. Therefore, we can assume that if leaders are ethical, they could make sure that ethical principles can be put into practice in an organisation. Based on this assumption, having an ethical leader is important for an organisation to carry out ethical operation and to foster ethical employees.
Even though sometimes being ethical does not necessarily mean being effective and being effective does not necessarily mean being ethical, ethics can be effectiveness in some specific circumstances. Being perceived as ethical and trustworthy, a leader is easier to be effective, for followers are easily to follow the guidance set by the ethical leader . But most of the time, the standards that we use to evaluate the effectiveness of a leader could be higher than it should be, this could be explained by our higher expectation towards the works done by a leader(Ciulla,2003).

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Example in fashion industry

There is a typical example from the fashion industry to better illustrate the concept of ethical leadership. Being a globally popular brand, H&M has successfully improved its image in sustainability and corporate social responsibility area these years. For example, the leaders in this company have done several ethical projects such as conducting half a million quality test every year; at least 300,000workers in Bandladesh, where the cheap clothes is being produced, have been educated about their proper rights; about 4.5million dollars has been donated to help the children who are suffering. Every year H&M will release a sustainability report for the public to review what they have done for the past year in the CSR area, all these figures are getting better as the CSR principles and projects develop inside the company(Kaye,2012). The employees in H&M can not only benefit from the CSR projects carried out by the company, but also learn the right values in the company, and therefore can conduct the right behaviours in their normal life and in organisational operation. The H&M company deserves a applaud for their quick improvement in CSR.

Conclusion

The importance of CSR and ethics is constantly growing in recent years, due to several scandals exposed in business world and make people reduce their trust in business companies. Therefore, ethical leadership is a key point to improve the ethics of a company. As leaders can guide their followers to follow a right patter to conduct right behaviours in both organisational operation and daily life and change the believes and values. As can be seen from the improvement of the CSR in H&M, we can conclude that even in a company which is already successful, ethical leadership can still help it to increase its value and profits.

 

 

 

 

Reference

Brown, M., Trevino, L. & Harrison, D. (2005). Ethical leadership: A social learning perspective for construct development and testing. Organizational Behaviour and Human Decision Processes, 97(2), 117-134.
Els, F. (2009). A new rule book. Finweek, 54.
L,Kaye. 2012. H&M, The Ethical Fast Fashion Leader?. [ONLINE] Available at:http://www.triplepundit.com/2012/04/hm-sustainability-report-2011/. [Accessed 26 March 14].
Reilly, E. C. (2006). The future entering: Reflections on and challenges to ethical leadership. Educational Leadership and Administration, 18, 163-173.

Managing resistance to change

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This blog is to explore that change is necessary for most organisations in the globalised economy. People easily feel resistant to change, as change always come with uncertainty and other negative aspects. Then this blog will explain the role that managers play in avoiding resistance and illustrate it in fashion industry.

In the globalised and interconnected economy, organisations deal with continually shifting: market conditions, customer demands, technologies input costs, competitions. Change is not new to companies, some people constantly fight with changes while some others prefer the comfort of the status quo, how to deal with change is decided by personality. However, organisations must adapt or die. They should continually re-evaluate their business model and ask questions about the appropriateness of the strategy and tactics they are employing to reach their long term goals. ‘Change management’ is thoughtfully and carefully re-aligning the organisation based on the answers. But the problem with change is that people who have been doing things a certain way for a long time do not like to suddenly be told they have to do things differently, as change is usually accompanied by uncertainty, poor communication, power-plays, chaos(business balls, 2013).

 

 

Mullins(2010) has suggested that there is little management can do about resistance to change. Actually there are a lot of things a manager can do, if the manager can find the right way to do it.  . A manager must do several things to manage the resistance to change: communicate the threat of not changing, involve the whole team in decision making, minimise uncertainty, celebrate successes in moving towards the goal, keep explaining the reasons to change. When there is an information vacuum, people often tend to assume their managers are plotting terrible things, so be as transparent as possible, so that people can ask less questions about the change(GRAZIADIO BUSINESS REVIEW,2005).

 

Actually, resistance to change can be a matter of not getting consensus at the beginning of change happening inside the organisation.  Managers are the key to the success of change, as they can help people to overcome and avoid the resistance. Managers are responsible for motivating people to support the change and involving people in every part of the change. People tend to think about the minus sides of change, therefore managers should not only explain the reasons for the change, but also think of what people are thinking and try to persuade people to overcome the negative thoughts.  Setting a clear strategy, vision and valuing highly the viewpoints from other people are also important parts of managing the change(Lee,2013).

In fashion industry, doing change is not only about making new flow charts, but also the employees’ daily lives are affected, this can be the first thing that every employee do every morning. Implementing a new technology usually brings in big changes to job responsibilities and roles, especially for those pattern makers and designers.  For example, in a product line management,  the pattern makers could have more information before a design has gone so far in development, so that they can make more preparation. Only when managers are carefully and thoughtfully listening to team members  can the problems with role changes be rightly handles. Therefore every member in the fashion company could has less resistance to change once they feel they are being understood. As mentioned before, communicating the vision before the implementation of the change is also important in fashion industry. What the future will be look like, how the company should try to get there and what it will be if we do not change are the key points that should be clearly communicated at the start of the change process. There is one example in fashion industry, which was a solution used in a fashion manufacturer company, the manufacturer hang posters around the office which sketched out the purpose of the PLM and included colorful flow charts.  This was an simple way for employees and managers to get familiar with the process in the chart, also with terminology in it hence every member could be able to communicate in the same language and vocabulary(Lectra,2013).

 

To conclude, some people tend enjoy the comfort of status quo while some others would like take the opportunity of change, however change is a must for most companies, therefore it is manages’ responsibilities to deal with people’s resistance to change. A successful transformation in change not only brings in results, it also makes more collaborative teams through good communication.

 

 

 

Reference

 

Lectra. 2013. Managing change in the fashion industry. [ONLINE] Available at:http://www.lectra.com/binaries/Change-Management_white-paper_en_tcm31-219635.pdf. [Accessed 04 March 14].

 

GRAZIADIO BUSINESS REVIEW. 2005. Managing resistance to change. [ONLINE] Available at:http://gbr.pepperdine.edu/2010/08/managing-resistance-to-change/. [Accessed 04 March 14].

 

Lee,S. 2013. Managing Resistance to Change. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.bia.ca/articles/chng-managing-resistance.htm. [Accessed 04 March 14].

business balls. 2013. change management principles. [ONLINE] Available at:http://www.businessballs.com/changemanagement.htm. [Accessed 04 March 14].

 

Wedell,G. (2011). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__IlYNMdV9E. [Online Video]. 18 September. Available from: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__IlYNMdV9E. [Accessed: 04 March 2014].

 

Most effective leadership style to managing the work of subordinates and the use of leadership style in fashion industry

 

 

The leadership styles are the leaders’ styles of directing and motivating subordinate as well as implementing plans. There are several various types of leadership styles that can be used in an organisation. Also, the leadership style is determined by the culture and beliefs in the company and the industry. The values, objectives and beliefs tell an organisation which leadership style is suitable for the way the organisation is operating (Simon,2010). There are three major types of leadership styles:

The Autocratic- This type of leadership style force the subordinates/team members to receive a certain way to deal with the tasks, which means the leaders always dominates the subordinates. This way is applicable then the tasks do not need a high degree of skills or imagination, for example the production line .

The Democratic- This type of leadership style keeps the general control over the subordinates whilst the subordinates are given a certain degree of freedom to launch the plan to accomplish the task. Most of the time the team members find the collective way to be adopted to finish the task.

 

The Lassiez- Fair – This type of leadership applies little control over the subordinates. This way is mostly effective when the organisation is requiring higher level of innovation and leading a team of highly motivated and skilled people. The most important thing in this style is letting the team workers to work on their own.

 

Therefore the best way of leadership style should be vary according to the  environments.

 

In fashion industry where I work and fashion changes faster than seasons(IBS,2009)., things are more complicated and competitive than we see onscreen. In the age of globalisation, fashion brands are searching for innovative leaders and teams who can deal with the quick changing conditions and bring continuous changes in the industry. Thus, fashion industry is an industry which requires flexibility and innovation. It is mentioned before that culture and belief in a company can affect the working environment which in turn affects the output of the products, hence creating a leadership style encouraging innovation is important in a fashion company (tastinat,2013).

 

Here are two examples which can be used to illustrate the importance of innovation in the fashion industry as those two brands have changed the pace of fashion globally.

Coco Chanel:

In the 19th century , women’s fashion was conservative ,restrictive and over-designed. Women cannot even simply enjoy their freedom in dressing themselves back that time, Coco Chanel brought the spring of woman fashion and started the revolution about the way women dress by showing modern feminine appearance in the design (Vogue 2007). These designs are more comfortable and practical to wear. As Deschamps(2008) indicated,  the innovative leaders must have the passion to redefine the needs of a customer and be dying for innovation. And Ms. Khaire also detailed  why traditional, top-down management styles cannot work in creative industries through the case of Coco Chanel.

 

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There is no doubt that Chanel had the courage to take the lead to bring change. She is a good example of innovative leader in fashion industry and will still be lively as a industry model in the heart of any designers.

Marc Jacobs:

Marc Jacobs is another famous brand in fashion industry. In 1997, Marc Jacobs joined the brand Louis Vuitton as the Chief creative director.  Thanks to him, the brand image of Louis Vuitton has been transformed and changed since then. In the past Louis vuitton had a sophisticated and elegant image, holding a look of women in the mid age, however  a sense of youthfulness is brought to the brand image by Marc Jacobs(Marc Jacobs Biography 2013). This transformation was so successful, and  the reason could be the management style of Louis Vuitton which encouraged leaders to take the risks of challenging the old brand image, this style allowed team members to be willing to follow their leaders.

In the conclusion it can be stated that the Lassiez- Fair should be the dominant approach using in the fashion industry. It is crucial to remember that the organisation operated in a highly innovative and competitive industry highly value the innovative and creative ideas. Lassiez- Fair leaves subordinates alone and let subordinates to act freely and almost all the rights and powers to make decisions are fully given to the subordinates. Therefore there is no doubt the Lassiez- Fair leadership style should be the main leadership style used in the fashion company where innovation is needed. And as a member in fashion industry, I would like to be managed and led in the Lassiez- Fair style.

 

References:

Bio true Stories(2012) Marc Jacobs [online] available from <http://www.biography.com/people/marc-jacobs-594096/videos/marc-jacobs-mini-biography-2157029259>[28th February 2013]

Deschamps Jean- Philippe, ‘Innovative Leaders: how senior executive stimulate steer and sustain innovation’ 2008 John Wiley and sons Ltd, The Atrium, Southern Gate, West Sussex, England.

Simon Oates. 2010. Leadership styles. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.leadership-blog.co.uk/leadership-styles/. [Accessed 26 February 14].

tastinate2013. 2013. Leaders in the leading world of Fashion. [ONLINE] Available at:http://tasniapinkbullet.wordpress.com/2013/04/01/leaders-in-the-leading-world-of-fashion/. [Accessed 26 February 14].

Vogue (2007). ‘ CHANEL’ [online] Available from

<http://www.vogue.com/voguepedia/Chanel&gt; [2014]

 

Diverse Teams and its use in fashion industry

 

With increasing globalisation, both large and small businesses are forced to compete in a more complicated environment, new findings from the Center for Talent Innovation (Chivee,2013) indicated that serial innovation come from diverse teams. Also quite a lot of companies in fashion industry are doing global business now, for example GUCCI and Coco Channel. Due to the environment of fashion industry, a fashion company values innovation highly, so that they can lead the pace of fashion and keep sustainable profit. However, diverse teams are easy to encounter barriers to communication,  therefore more time and efforts are needed to reach the goal (Polzer,2008). This blog is aimed at evaluate these  two  plus and minus sides of diverse teams, and identify what companies should execute the diverse teams.

Today, many global companies are doing business on a global scale, and gradually these companies soon realize the importance of diversity in teams and groups, as diversity in teams can bring new products, services and ideas. An individual can be different in many aspects, such as gender, culture, age, physical abilities, nationality, ethics or religious practices etc(Financial Times,2013). It is obvious that each person is unique as each person is molded by external and internal factors.

A company can benefit from diverse teams, due to people with different characters can collaborate to figure out a wildly diverse result. When working on the projects, the team members will process totally diverse views and information, and , in doing so,  people can walk outside the comfort zones and give a thought to the fresh ideas, therefore more details with be considered, deeper side of issues can be identified and broader ideas can be explored, all of which improve performance(Fitz,2013). This can be explained specifically in fashion industry, as black girls have a specific body shape, and Asian girls have a specific body shape, the market can be very different.

The research based on 1,800 respondent from the Center for Talent Innovation identified that diversity from team can bring innovation.  Just by being men, women, black people, gay , young or with different nationality,  the views coming from diverse people facilitate identification of new opportunities in markets that other companies without  diverse team may not find it easy to see((CHIVÉE,2013). And as service and information technology are increasingly important in fashion industry, diverse team can reach different way to serve people in different culture or environment.

Video:

http://www.gucci.com/uk/services/videos/retail-team

(diverse team in GUCCI from all over world)

Also some other researches  show that diverse teams may perform weakly relative to similar teams, while similar teams are easier and quicker to build effective ways of communicating.  Nevertheless, diverse teams can improve over time, and often finally outperform similar teams,  when team members begin to learn to deal with these difference of each member and  convert these difference  to better outcome(Klein,2006).

On the other hand,  diverse teams  sometimes can be harmful and are prone to dysfunction, as the difference that create creativity can build barriers to communication as well. When diverse teams are suffering from members’ struggle to understand, relate to, or trust other members with different characteristics. This misunderstanding may lead to tense atmosphere in the team, therefore lead to bad team performance. So that more time and effort could be cost to reach a outcome or a common understanding, so transaction costs could be raised due to poor team work. Hence, activities requiring conventional team-building cannot execute such groups.

In order for managers to get benefits from diverse groups, a smart manager must balance the characteristics of each member. In addition to that, a mart manager should  encourage communicate between members, listen actively  or improve interpersonal congruence((Polzer,2008).After all, if the new ideas are ignored, there would be no point in making the diver team which provide fresh ideas.

From my point of view, carrying out diverse teams can benefit companies on a global scale that requires complex consideration from many different angles of an issue or innovation, for diverse teams can boost detailed consideration to  create innovative results to avoid missing opportunities. Especially in fashion industry, people have to be very open-minded to touch the heart of customers.  On the contrary, when these factors are not important for other local companies, it could be a better choice to use similar teams, for the rapid communication and higher cohesion between the team members.

To conclude, increasing globalisation has forced companies to compete in a fierce environment and required companies to get more innovative ideas, diverse teams can be one of ways to boost performance of global companies, but diverse teams come with some potential risk-create communication barriers. A company should evaluate their own condition and see if they should use diverse teams or not. For my industry-fashion, I would use diverse team in this industry, due to its characteristics- fashion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reference

 

Financial Times. 2013. Definition of diverse teams. [ONLINE] Available at: http://lexicon.ft.com/Term?term=diverse-teams. [Accessed 12 February 14].

Jeffrey T. Polzer. 2008. Making Diverse Teams Click. [ONLINE] Available at: http://hbr.org/2008/07/making-diverse-teams-click/ar/1. [Accessed 11 February 14].

Robin Fritz. 2013. Diversity for Groups & Teams in the Workplace. [ONLINE] Available at:http://smallbusiness.chron.com/diversity-groups-teams-workplace-10998.html. [Accessed 11 February 14].

Kenji Klein. 2013. Culturally Diverse Teams that Work. [ONLINE] Available at:http://merage.uci.edu/Resources/Documents/Culturally%20Diverse%20Teams%20that%20Work%20WEB.pdf. [Accessed 12 February 14].

LAUREN LEADER-CHIVÉE. 2013. New Study: Diversity Drives Serial Innovation. [ONLINE] Available at:http://www.inc.com/lauren-leader-chiv%C3%A9e/diversity-helps-maximize-your-innovation-potential-.html. [Accessed 11 February 14].