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Buad6961 the Art, Science and Practice of Leadership

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Arthur Lok Jack Global School of Business

The University of the West Indies

BUAD 6961

The Art, Science and Practice of Leadership


Leadership Challenge #1

How Did I Get Here?

Kizzy Ramdhanie



Table of Contents



1.        Trust Issues        1

2.        Communication Problems        2


ACTION PLAN        4

1.        Peter’s Transformation        5

2.        Employee Transformation        7



The root cause of the issues in this department is a dysfunctional leader-follower relationship between Peter and his subordinates.  Peter’s leadership style is ineffective as he has not been granted leadership by his subordinates. Although he is in a leadership position and thus has legitimate power based on his role, he has to work towards developing an admired leadership style, where he is respected and ultimately granted leadership by his subordinates.


Review of the information provided in the Leadership Challenge #1 revealed that the following issues exist in the department:

  1. Trust Issues

There are clearly issues of trust within the department. This is evidenced by the fact that:

  • The employees feel that Peter is unfair
  • Peter feels that:
  • the employees are out to ‘defame his character’ and ‘tarnish his reputation’
  • The employees are ‘attacking his management capabilities’
  • That the staff is ‘out to ruin his career’
  1. Communication Problems

There are also communication issues within the department. This is evidenced by the following facts of the case:

  • Employees did not approach Peter to deal with the issue
  • The allegations of unfairness and abusiveness suggest that Peter may not be communicating effectively
  • The employees thought that the department was not performing, while Peter thought that it was, expressing the opinion that ‘it was clear that they did not see the financial results’. Further, it suggests that Peter and the employees measure performance differently.

The issues identified are indicative of a leadership problem within the department.


The root cause of the issues in this department is a dysfunctional leader-follower relationship between Peter and his subordinates.  Mullins (2010, 373) defines leadership as, “a relationship through which one person influences the behaviour or actions of other people”. The fact is that Peter’s influence on his team is negative and they do not willingly accept his leadership.

The leadership crisis can best be examined by using style theory. Mullins (2010, 380) defines this theory as follows: “Leadership style is the way in which the functions of leadership are carried out, the way in which the manager typically behaves towards members of the group.”

Peter’s behaviour is perceived by sixty (60) percent of his staff as unfair and abusive. This may stem from the fact that Peter is task oriented and emphasises getting results rather than creating an environment of coaching, support and empowerment. This aspect of Peter’s character is evidenced by his statement that, “It was clear they did not see the financial results”. 

His leadership style is authoritative.  This style can be appropriate when quick decisions are required with no need for team input, and when team agreement isn't necessary for a successful outcome. However, this style can be demoralizing, and it can lead to high levels of dissatisfaction, absenteeism and staff turnover.

Modern studies have shown that such a leadership style in the workplace is ineffective in this era. Levine (2000, 90) states, “Leaders in the new millennium will create an environment that encourages the development of skills, learning and openness so that those in their team can participate in the deployment of financial and human resources.”

The highly controversial leaders, Hugo Chavez and Donald Trump are example of leaders who possess(ed) a predominantly authoritative leadership style.


In order to effectively navigate this situation, Peter needs to practice good leadership, and to inspire a change in the perception of his subordinates. Some, such as the proponents of Quality/Trait Theories of leadership may argue that this situation is irreversible and that great leaders are born, not made.

However, studies such as those conducted by Bass over the period 1904 to 1970 (Bass, 1990) suggests that, “Although personality is a factor in differentiating leadership, it is not a matter of the mere possession of some combination of traits. Leaders acquire status through a working relationship with members of a group”

Transformational Leadership Theories can be utilised to detail the type of leader that Peter should aspire to become.

Burn’s Transformational Leadership Theory

This type of leadership stimulates higher levels of motivation and commitment among followers. Leaders focus on promulgating the vision of the organisation and motivating employees to strive for higher ideals and values by themselves demonstrating high morals (Burns 1978). This type of leadership creates a pervading sense of justice, loyalty and trust in the organisation, all of which are needed in this case.



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