Leadership is a skill that influences and empowers people to contribute in solving problems. It involves skillful use of communication to eliminate barriers that cause misunderstandings or conflict within team members (Smith, n.d.). A leader adapts to the changing environment and inspires everyone to contribute their best. Great leaders have a clear vision and can articulate a goal to their team members. Along the way, leaders with boundless enthusiasm can drum up motivation from members in achieving organisational goals (Caramela, 2017).
Newly appointed to manage an Outreach Department for his company, Harris previously headed a Communications Department. Where he once worked with familiar faces, he now works with a different team in a different environment. Thus, Harris must adapt to the new environment and may need to modify his leadership style. To do that, he can draw from several leadership styles (Caramela, 2017). Harris would also need to identify the working styles, personality and character traits of each team member. This is to determine which style works best for any situation and in dealing with his team members since people react differently to each style of leadership (Horne, 2019).
In exercising a democratic style of leadership, Harris should seek the opinions and thoughts from employees given that he is new to the department and that he is also unfamiliar with the new team. This style of leadership recognises that everybody has a stake in decision making. Actions tend to be agreed upon by the majority. Thus, before making any decision, Harris must remember to consult and get buy-in from his employees first.
Harris can consider a laissez-faire style of leadership by allowing his team to exercise their judgement and execute actions on their own. Here, Harris grants autonomy to the team instead of directly influencing and instructing them. The laissez-faire leadership style can work since Harris cedes the decision making process to his new team members who are in a better position to advise him instead.
A transactional styled leader would see Harris managing the performance of his team at the individual level. Harris can tap onto the organisation’s policies and dispense appropriate rewards to his team (“What is Transactional Leadership?”, 2014). As Harris is a manager, he at least has a level of authority that allows him to command his team (“Different Types of Power”, n.d.). As its name implies, this leadership style involves transactions such as rewarding employees who can follow and act upon instructions. Hence, with actions and achievements of goals come rewards.
Harris can turn on his charisma and lead with it. In this leadership style, Harris would also exercise his communication skills to acquire the admiration of his team and gain followers. This makes them feel that they are being heard. Harris must also possess a keen sense of empathy and remain calm and in control to resolve potential conflicts. Harris should always exude confidence and a high level of self-esteem.
Jeffrey and Susan have conflicting views on conducting an outreach programme in fostering an interest for classical music among youths. In resolving this conflict, Jeffrey can tap from the five conflict management styles (Benoliel, 2017).
Jeffrey can resolve the conflict in views by collaborating with Susan. Since Susan feels that a professional marketing firm should be hired, Jeffrey may suggest working with interns from professional marketing firms if they can find them. This lets Susan pick the firm, while Jeffrey can use the opportunity to find marketers from the same firm around the target age range of 17 to 24.
Jeffrey might assert his stance and refuse to give way to Susan. He can insist that the age of the marketers matter immensely and stick to working with their company’s marketing interns since the age of their interns closely matches the targeted youths. Jeffrey must insist on his position for this competitive style to work and ensure that Susan does not get her way.
Jeffrey can resolve the conflict by not asserting his stance. He cedes the decision making process to Susan. Jeffrey avoids Susan but must do so in a diplomatic manner. He must remain unassertive and buy time while postponing any engagements or meetings with Susan.
Jeffrey can accommodate Susan and go with her view of engaging a professional marketing firm. This allows him to maintain a working relationship with Susan. In essence, he gives up his position but builds upon another.
Susan wants a professional marketing firm, but Jeffrey wants to work with their company’s own interns. Susan values professionalism and experience while Jeffrey highlights the age of their interns and cost saving benefits. Jeffrey can thus opt to have Susan come to a compromise by suggesting they find a marketing firm that can offer lower costs in their operations. He can also suggest that they seek a marketing firm with the marketers that are around the age range of the target youths.
Disagreements are bound to happen anywhere communication takes place. While Jeffrey wishes to express his disagreement with Susan, he can do so one of two ethical ways without damaging the working relationship.
Seek To Understand
Jeffrey can try to understand Susan’s stance on her hiring a professional marketing firm. He could say, “I wish to keep costs low, but please help me understand how getting a professional marketing firm is more beneficial than our in-house interns. That way, I know where you are coming from”.
Express Doubts Tactfully
Jeffrey disagrees with Susan, but that does not mean he should run his mouth off. He can express his doubts in a tactful manner and also gain common understanding between him and Susan too. He could say, “It would help if you let me know what is on your mind and on why a marketing firm is valued over our marketing interns. Then, we can seek an optimal solution.”
Jeffrey should also take the opportunity to look for similarities instead of differences (Daskal, 2016). He might say, “Please correct me if I am wrong, but I am certain we both want to work with marketing people.”
Perception in Social Media Platforms
Suderman writes that social media “increasingly feels as if it is simply the world” (2018). He adds that Trump spends a considerable amount of time on Twitter. Mainstream media then picks up on Trump’s tweets and amplifies the content across multiple channels. However, social media is not “the world” yet as Suderman stated for the digital realm has not yet mirrored reality.
Suderman states that many users experience “virtual bombardment” instead when exposed to social media platforms that allow “unregulated free expression and individual control” (2017). Hence, social media users should exercise discretion and self-judgement when consuming online media. They can do it in two ways.
Overcoming Attribution Bias
When consuming media, users can come across content that goes contrary to what they think. They may also experience unwarranted behaviour online. However, users should note that they could be applying their own attribution biases towards other users and online content unknowingly. Thus, it is important that one take charge of the situation and think from the perspective of other users, acknowledging that there is usually more to the situation than it seems.
Just as social media allows for free expression, some users may use the platform to vent their frustrations openly. For them, it could be the only safe platform to share their experiences. People should not jump to conclusions immediately when consuming content or reading comments. It is often the internal and external environment that contributes to such content posted online in the first place. As different circumstances happen to different people, so will the range of expressions differ even if they cause disagreements and frustrations between each other.
Avoid Mind Reading
Korb states that humans are social animals and recognises the importance of being able to “navigate through nuanced social interactions” (2013). Such social navigation necessitates the need to read people’s minds.
However, it is crucial to note that people attempt to read the minds of others in an autonomous manner (Korb, 2013). Applied to social media, the sometimes-anonymous nature of certain online platforms incentivises users to not only consume media and content at face value but also to read the minds of others on a largely “faceless” platform. Users must acknowledge that they are automatically reading the minds of others and should cease the act immediately.
Instead of jumping to hasty conclusions that potentially lead to arguments, users should also seek clarification from each other. All parties ought to avoid trying to mind read everyone else. By not mind reading and taking steps to curb attribution biases, social media users can communicate more responsibly.
Benoliel, B. (2017, May 30). What’s Your Conflict Management Style? Walden University. Retrieved from https://www.waldenu.edu/connect/newsroom/walden-news/2017/0530-whats-your-conflict-management-style
Caramela, S. (2017, September 21). 4 Ways to Define Leadership. Business News Daily. Retrieved from https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/3647-leadership-definition.htm
Daskal, L. (2016, May 6). 7 Simple Ways to Deal With a Disagreement Effectively. Inc. Retrieved from https://www.inc.com/lolly-daskal/7-simple-ways-to-deal-with-a-disagreement-effectively.html
Different Types of Power. (n.d.). Management Study Guide. Retrieved from https://www.managementstudyguide.com/types-of-power.htm
Horne, K. (2019, February 27). What Is Leadership? We Asked The Greatest Leaders In History (+ Skill Development). Digital.com. Retrieved from https://digital.com/about/contribute/
Korb, A. (2013, July 1). Mind Reading and Miscommunication. Psychology Today. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/prefrontal-nudity/201307/mind-reading-and-miscommunication
Smith, S. M. (n.d.). What is Leadership? Steven M Smith. Retrieved from https://stevenmsmith.com/what-is-leadership/
Suderman, P. (2018, September 13). The slippery slope of regulating social media.The Business Times. Retrieved from https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/opinion/the-slippery-slope-of-regulating-social-media
What is Transactional Leadership? How Structure Leads to Results. (2014, November 25). STU Online. Retrieved from https://online.stu.edu/articles/education/what-is-transactional-leadership.aspx