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Core Leadership Competencies Skills and Leadership for SMES

Module Code:LD9616
Module Title:Leadership for SMEs


Further information about general assessment criteria, ARNA regulations, referencing and plagiarism can be found on the module’s site on the e-Learning Portal.  Students are advised to read and follow this information.

Instructions for the Assessment of this module:

Summative Assessment

You will be summatively assessed by the creation of an individual research informed Leadership Development video and supporting self-analysis portfolio/leadership development plan.  This will include:

  1. A critical review describing the extent to which reliable knowledge about the characteristics of an effective leader and leadership in SME can be determined 1000 words (20%) (MLO2)
  2. A verbal critical review of literature relating to leadership, leader competence and self-awareness frameworks (20%) (MLO1)
  3. A portfolio of evidence outlining your engagement in the self-awareness process and supporting critical reflection of findings.  This should include a reflection of your values and emotional intelligence and the subsequent implications on your ethical leadership (20%)(MLO4)
  4. A verbal critical appraisal of your potential as an effective leader within an SME context drawing upon the findings from your self-awareness process.   This should include a reflection of your values and emotional intelligence and the subsequent implications on your ethical leadership (20%)(MLO4)
  5. Based upon this video content you should then produce a supporting Personal Development Plan(500 words) for your future leadership  competence development to address any gaps in your leadership potential you have identified  (10%)(MLO3)
  6. Clear, fluent writing style with good academic and reflective writing (10%)

The verbal appraisal components for this assessment will be delivered by the submission of a 10 min video that should contain your self-reflective and critical appraisal of your own potential in terms of your perceived potential as an ethical leader within the SME context. 


  • Title and Contents page
  • Reference list
  • Appendices
  • Appropriate tables, figures and illustrations
  • Glossary
  • Bibliography
  • Quotes from interviews and focus groups.


Please note, in text citations [e.g. (Smith, 2011)] and direct secondary quotations [e.g. “dib-dab nonsense analysis” (Smith, 2011 p.123)] are INCLUDED in the word count.

If this word count is falsified, students are reminded that under ARNA page 30 Section 3.4 this will be regarded as academic misconduct.

If the word limit of the full assignment exceeds the +10% limit, 10% of the mark provisionally awarded to the assignment will be deducted. 

 For example: if the assignment is worth 70 marks but is above the word limit by more than 10%, a penalty of 7 marks will be imposed, giving a final mark of 63.

Time limits and penalties for presentations when they are part of an assignment

The time allocated for the presentation must be adhered to.  At the end of this time, the presentation will be stopped and will be marked based on what has been delivered within the time limit. This can cause disruption and therefore students are advised to rehearse their presentations and also keep strict control of the presentation when it is being delivered.

Mapping to Programme Goals

In completing this assessment you will have contributed to the following programme goals:                                 

6.1.2   Demonstrate an appreciation of the uncertainty, ambiguity and limits of knowledge

6.2.1. Apply business, management and leadership knowledge in order to appreciate potential 

implications for strategic performance in a SME context

6.4.1   Demonstrate evidence of how self-reflection has enhanced appreciation of issues to address 

in developing future potential to contribute effectively in a SME business /organisational environment

6.5.1 Demonstrate critical understanding of how their own cultural and ethical values may impact on 

your ability to engage and work ethically, constructively   and sensitively in diverse environments and/or teams

AOL GOALS       Not AchievedAchievedExceeded


Answer

LEADERSHIP FOR SME’S


Introduction: 

Leadership within the setting of the business organisations refers to the controlling as well as managerial application that serves as helpful in the successful maintenance of both the structural along with functional aspects. Leadership is basically applicable for the individual as this greatly signifies the internal capacity and potency to control over others. The application of leadership can be observed in different sectors like academic institutions, business purposes along with other sectors. An effective leadership not only control the other parts and departments of the organisations, but also it shows the most helpful way to execute the functions in order to meet organisational purposes.

1. Demonstration of appreciation of limitations in the extent to which reliable knowledge about the characteristics of effective leadership can be determined:

1.1 A critical review of the meaning and importance of leadership for organisations:

The term leadership is basically a multi-layered concept that is applicable for different purposes and different sectors as well. According to Chang et al. (2015), leadership is the application of the activity to establish a prominent vision for future operations. However, it is also opined that leadership is effective in providing necessary knowledge and information to others in order to meet the organisational purposes. It is even also effective in creating a coordination and supportive working scenario within the business organisations. Through the practice and application of the leadership, a leader can help the organisation to overcome any critical scenario and can also upgrade the organisational condition by applying creative thinking.

The importance of leadership within an organisation is multi-dimensional as follows:

Importance of leadership

Figure 1: Importance of leadership

(Source: Miner, 2015, p.102)

Motivation:

Leaders within the organisation serve as the figurehead and with their approach and controlling power (Miner, 2015). They even act as a fried to the subordinates in order to motivate them to improve their functional quality through which both the staffs and the organisation will be benefitted.

Team building:

The leaders within the organisations take the role to create a working team with the appropriate members. Even the development of moral values, unity, and collaboration is also implemented by the application of effective leadership.

Implementing creativity:

Creativity is one of the major requirements to improve the current working and structural status of the business organisations. Therefore, leadership helps in the implementation of changes that can enhance the organisational capacity and creativity to increase their position.

Guidance:

One of the major importances of the leadership is embedded in guiding the subordinates to perform their roles and responsibilities for the organisational sake. Dellert (2016) has stated in this regard that through the application of this guidance, the leaders can also develop the strategies to solve any issue or problems within the organisation.

Improving confidence:

Employees within the organisations are expected to increase their confidence level that may help them to provide a better service for their organisation. Even, increase of the employee confidence is also effective in the determinate of the leadership quality that helps in the achievement of the organisational objectives.

1.2 A critical review of the competences required for leadership:

In the term leadership, the sense of encouraging others is also embedded. The subordinates under the leadership of one person are generally motivated by the approach, style and activities of the leader (Harrison, 2017). In fact, an effective leadership defines the exhibition of the way through which the organisation can easily reach its expectation and benchmark.

Within the organisational context, the leaders are required to posses some necessary competencies in order to perform their positional roles and responsibilities effectively. As per the opinion of Delia Davila Quintana et al. (2014), the leaders are the figurehead within the organisations and therefore act as one of the greatest inspirations for others. Even, the performance of the subordinates is also majorly depended on the skills, efficiencies and qualities of the leaders.

Control:

As the position of the leaders is on the top of the functional and positional hierarchy within the organisational setting, they need to possess a strong controlling power. Through the application of controlling and maintaining quality, the leaders can able to manage unity and cooperative environment within the organisations.

Intelligence:

The leaders need to possess the quality of social intelligence as well as internal intelligence for performing their functional duties. The social intelligence is the application of awareness of the external environment and circumstances that have their strong impact on the organisational activities. Goleman et al. (2013) has however stated that the internal intelligence is the self-quality of the leaders to balance between their emotions and profession. Though these, they can serve for the organisations at the expected level.

Management of conflict:

Through the practice and application of the interpersonal skills, the leaders can able to identify the organisational issues and conflicts along with their sources and take necessary steps to eradicate those in order to enhance organisational productivity and service quality. This is helpful in satisfying the subordinates with providing a positive working environment.

Decision-making:

Decision-making quality of the organisational leaders helps in the maintaining of the functional flow by avoiding the chance to occur critical situations. The ability of the leaders to take good and effective decision according to the current condition helps the organisation to progress in future.

Courage and change management:

A courageous leader has the potency to face all the challenges and critical situations with confidence and through this the elimination of those challenges can also be performed. Hannah et al. (2014) has stated that it is basically the inner quality of the leaders that can be enriched through practical experiences. This is also beneficial in developing faith on own belief and thinking.

1.3 A critical review of the meaning and importance of ethical leadership:

Among all type of the leadership approaches, the application of the ethical leadership is the most influential. Ethics refers to the moral values and qualities that a person possesses and with the application of that in the functional context, it can be possible to satisfy and motivate others in performing their roles and responsibilities effectively (Swanson and Frederick, 2016). In fact for the leaders, the maintenance of ethics such as dignity, rights, equal treatment and moral values of others help in getting their support strongly. The exhibition of respect to others also helps the leaders to return that from them.

 Importance of ethical leadership

Figure 2: Importance of ethical leadership

(Source: Swanson and Frederick, 2016, p.226)

Value:

The importance of the ethical leadership is greatly embedded in setting a healthy and inspirational environment within the organisation. Swanson and Frederick (2016) have stated that one of the major significance of this type of leadership is the leader’s understanding of individual value. It is the fact that if the values of the staffs are not maintained within the organisational context, they will not be motivated to serve their best effort for the organisational well being.

Virtue:

Balancing between the right and wrong doings by the ethical leaders is quite necessary to enhance the relationship between them and the subordinates. The virtuous character of the leaders in fact helps in enhancing the employee satisfaction and motivational qualities among them.

Vision:

Ethical leadership strictly follows a specific vision to meet the organisational target and to establish the frame of the performance. Boyatzis et al. (2013) has stated that the setting of the target through maintaining ethics also helps in maintaining the unity, coordination and working approach towards the meeting of benchmark.

Voice:

Through the application of the ethical leadership, the leaders are liable to mention the vision of the organisation with all its purposes. In fact, this strengthens the base of the leader’s position through getting support from the subordinates. Even, the articulation of the vision through leader’s voice also motivates the staffs to perform towards a single aim.


2. A verbal critical review of literature relating to leadership, leader competence and self-awareness frameworks: 

leadership, leader competence and self-awareness frameworks

2.1 A critical review of the meaning and importance of self-awareness as a tool for leadership development:

 self-awareness as a tool for leadership development

One of the most important factors regarding the achievement of the organisational goal and purposes is the maintenance of supportive and collaborative working among the organisational members. The leaders within the organisations need to possess some essential qualities among which self awareness plays one of the most significant roles. Self awareness refers to the understanding of the capabilities, potencies and knowledge to manage oneself through different ways. In fact, Church (2015) has stated that through self reflection, the leaders can able to examine them regarding their functional standard.

The importance of self awareness by the leaders is also important regarding the fact that this helps in keeping an effective balance with others. This is helpful in maintaining the organisational activities quite significantly. Even, this also supports in identifying the ways to eradicate self-weaknesses.

2.2 A critical review of the characteristics needed of an effective leader:

 characteristics needed of an effective leader

Within every business organisation, the leaders are expected to have some necessary as well as essential characteristics to perform their roles and responsibilities. First, the leaders are needed to be honest in both their speech and activities. Any discrimination is not expected from them. Second, the leaders are needed to essentially possess a good communicative quality in order to keep healthy connection with others (Simonton, 2014). Through the communication, the unity and supportive working environment is developed. On the other hand, creative quality of the leaders also helps in implementing necessary changes within the organisation. This helps in removing the stagnant condition of the organisation. Even, if the leaders have positive attitude towards the organisational development through employee motivation, the quality improvement of both of them is conducted easily. However, in performing all these, the most necessary quality of the leaders is a high level self-confidence.

2.3 A critical review of two self-awareness tools

 A critical review of two self-awareness tools

It is necessary for the leaders of the business organisations to go through the ways using proper methods in order to review and be aware of self-potency and capabilities. As stated by Day et al. (2014), self-awareness helps in the process to identify own qualities as well as drawbacks, too. In order to identify those there are different tools among which the application of going through the regular feedback method and psychometric test are mostly beneficial.

The leaders can ask the subordinates and collect feedback from them about own functional qualities along with issues. As the subordinates are the most close to the leaders and can watch their activities at a regular basis, they can better express their feedback. On the other hand, through psychometric test the leaders can understand their thinking and capacity to take any functional step and decision. Even, it also expresses the mental strength of leaders to handle any critical condition, too.

2.4 A discussion of the results of these two self-awareness tools with examples from personal, education or work experience to support:

 personal, education or work experience

From the above discussion, it can be evaluated that regular feedback process and psychometric test are the two most influential self-awareness tools for the organisational leaders. However, both these two tools have their strong impact on the personal, educational and working experiences contexts. Through the application of regular feedback from the subordinates, the leaders can able to develop a vision about their personal qualities and traits, even, this also suggests the necessity to go through further educational knowledge.

However, Church (2015) has stated that through improving the qualities gaining feedback from the subordinates, the leaders can experience better working practices. Even, a psychometric test is effective in determining the psychological state of the leaders and due to this, the inner quality, potency and capacities are disclosed. This is helpful in the growth of awareness of personal traits. Even in the educational purposes, it helps in the identification of leader’s controlling capacity. Similarly, in the professional sector, this is effective in analysing the leader’s capacity to motivate and inspire the subordinates to improve their functional performances.

2.5 A discussion of the results of these two self-awareness tools and how this will influence positively or negatively on future leadership potential:

 leadership potential

Through the application of both the regular feedback process from the subordinates and the psychometric test, the leaders are greatly benefitted regarding understanding their self-potency to act as an organisational leader. Even the functional drawbacks are also disclosed that helps in elimination of those and upgrade the functional performances. Pendleton and Furnham (2016) have opined that although these self-awareness tools are helpful for the leaders, sometimes these also create complicacies in leadership performances. The feedback about the leadership performances from the subordinates differs from one another and due to this; it becomes problematic and critical regarding the correct judgement. On the other hand, psychometric tests greatly depended on the current mental state of the individual. Therefore, it becomes problematic to understand the actual psychological state of the leaders. Due to this, the specialists cannot develop the right judgement and the leadership approach is sometimes misguided.


3. A portfolio of evidence outlining own engagement in the self awareness process and supporting critical reflection of findings: 

3.1 Values exercise: 

PeaceIntegrity 
Wealth Joy 
Happiness Love
SuccessRecognition 
Friendship Family 
Fame Truth 
Authenticity Wisdom 
Power Status 
Influence 
Justice 

Table 1: Values exercise table

(Source: Self developed)

From the above exercise, 2 core values are identified from a set of values. According to Huczynski and Buchanan (2010), ethical leadership is not about gaining fame and recognition, it is about making the right decision that benefits all. In my personal, educational and professional career, I used to focus on truth and justice. A leader always needs to be truthful in his/her activities. Whenever, there are disputes among the team members, I used to identify the truth. I listen to all and try to identify the grass root problem. It enables me to give justice to the victims. During our group work in university, few team members do not contribute or restrain themselves from contributing in the group project. Being a leader, I tend to justify the contribution of all the members and based on that, include the names of the members in the group project. 

However, applying the core values like truth and justice in educational and professional life is highly challenging. As I am practicing truth and justice in my activities, conflict with others has become a general notion, as others do not take telling truth on all activities easily. However, I believe that by being true to all and looking at the greatest benefits of all according to utilitarian principles, I can be able to practice these core values throughout my life in my educational and professional life as well. 

3.2 Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire

By conducting the EI questionnaire test, five areas of emotional intelligence are identified. According to Neumann et al. (2010), emotional intelligence has become a dominant leadership skill as a leader with positive EI can not only directs the followers, but also helps them to sort out their problems easily.  My self-awareness score is 34, which means that I need to pay attention to my own self-awareness. Without being aware regarding own competencies and capabilities, directing and monitoring others are a difficult task. I also need pay huge attention and thereby needs to improve my managing emotion capability. In the workplace, different people have different emotional levels. Due to my low managing emotions capability, my ethical leadership may be hampered, as for leading ethically, I will need to maintain and manage everyone’s emotion in the workplace.  However, the EI questionnaire has revealed that I am good at motivating oneself and am good at social skills. Moreover, I tend to show empathy towards others. For example, whenever, my team members at the workplace tell me about their problems, I encourage that member. I gather all the members and try to resolve any team disputes using my social skills. My inborn ability to talk politely and being friendly with each other help me to be resolve workplace conflicts and manage the team appropriately. 

(Refer to appendix 1 for the questionnaire)

3.3 Johari Window: 

Schein (2010) is of the view that a good leader needs to have good relationship with others. Developing and building relationship helps in directing, managing and monitoring people effectively. Johari window is used to identify this relationship. From the result obtained from the Johari Window test, I have identified that there are areas, which are only known by me, but not others.  For example, I know that I can delegate tasks among all effectively. However, others do not know the very quality of mine.  I have also come to know that there are few hidden attributes in me about known by none. Therefore, I need to be more fluet with others. I need to talk more as well as need to spend more time other team members. This will ultimately help me to build strong relationship with my team members. I can understand them better and their emotions only when I will be open to them. I have share my skills and attributes with the team members for the effective function of my team. 

(Refer to appendix 2)

3.4 Belbin Questionnaire: 

From the Belbin team roles questionnaire, it is identified that I am a very good at team working and co-ordinating. According to Taylor et al. (2010), team working and co-ordinating are the two most important skills of a leader. The results show that I have these qualities inherent in me. It is quite true as well. For example, whenever we are given a difficult assignment to complete, when are given a project in our organisation, I tend to encourage all the members. In few cases, when one member is missing, I make other members understand about the problem and work together to complete the tasks as a unified team. Most importantly, I also identify the objectives of our project and tend to delegate tasks for an effective team working. Thus, I also work as a co-ordinator.  The result of the Belbin questionnaire also shows that I am at average level in implementing solutions, shaping the objectives to ensure the team works well. I also pose the quality of a finisher. When group assignments are given in the university, in most of the cases, I write most of the sections collaborate with everyone and seek to identify any mistakes and errors in the writing. Thus, I also tend to work as a complete finisher.  However, for being a true team leader, I need to pose all the qualities, which I lack. 

(Refer to appendix 3)

3.5 Personality psychometric: 

 The personality psychometric test shows that I am confident in myself. It shows that confidence regarding success is one of the most important factors for gaining employees. Walumbwa et al. (2010) agreed with it and stated that self-confidence is also an important characteristic of a leader. If a leader is not self-confident, the leader cannot be able to bring self-confidence in the employees and among colleagues. Whenever my team is given with any difficult tasks, I come first to take the core responsibility of completing It. The main reason behind it is that I want to take challenges and risks. Being successful after taking the challenge improves my self-confidence. However, there are certain sections where I need to improve. I am more achievement driven rather than gaining excellence. It is because I prioritise deadlines. However, in order to complete tasks, I always put my 100% ability to work. However, for being a leader, I might need to improve in this section of my personality. 

(Refer to appendix 4)

3.6 Leadership Competence questionnaire: 

From the leadership competence questionnaire, I have identified that I have all the qualities of a good leader. I am initiative, adaptive, an agile learner as well as good at systems thinking and strategic thinking.  Slavkin (2010) remarked that for being a good leader, innovating skills and planning and organising skills are necessary. My average competency of these leadership traits is quite high. However, it is also a matter of fact that leadership traits are inborn whereas the qualities needs to be refined through practice. I have made use of these skills practically as well.  I am the one who always seek for innovative ways of solving problem.  For example, when in the workplace, my team is given with most difficult task to accomplish. In this context, a perfect vision for completing the task is required. Before starting the work, I ask all the team members to come for an informal meeting where we discuss about our vision, strategies. Thus, by making use of simple communication methods, strategic and systems thinking is done whereas new ideas are put forward for accomplishing the task successfully. 

(Refer to appendix 5)

3.7 MCI Questionnaire: 

From the MCI questionnaire results, I have identified that I am good at creating vision for my team.  Apart from that, I always tend to work with my team members. It is also applicable when I am given with a member who is not supportive. I have the ability to create good relation within that member and make him work with me. It implies that I am capable of delivering tasks on time. 

(Refer to appendix 6)

3.8 Leadership Style Questionnaire: 

My leadership style questionnaire score is 59 and 74. It means that I prefer being managed by Y theory whereas I tend to use Y theory. It also indicates that I am a participative leader.  It also implies that my team members see their work as a challenge and take pride in their work. It therefore means that I am good at managing and leading people. For example, in our group assignment at the university, I called all the group members and encourage them as our team leader of the project was ill. I encouraged all the members and created a sense of unity. This worked well and we completed the project successfully. As the acting leader, I managed them properly by participating the project actively. 

(Refer to appendix 7)


4. Development of a personal development plan: 

From the above self-assessment task, I have identified more core competencies regarding leadership.  Apart from that, I have also identified areas, which I still need to improve a lot. Even though I am competent in leading a team, I lack few qualities of a team member like as implementer and resource investigator. I also need to improve my communication. The following table shows the development activity, benefits that can be gained, priority, time required and actions that needs to be taken for improving the skills. 

Development ActivityBenefits that can be gained from the activity Priority
H- High
M- Medium 
L- Low 
Date to be achievedFunding Requirement Actions need to be taken 
Team working activity Relationship between the team members can be strengthened  
Good employment relationship thus can be effective in achieving the team goals and objectives 
High Within 1 yearNormal  In order to improve this skill, I need to engaged more personally with the team members. I also need to conduct meetings formal and informal to discuss work related and personal problems. 
Sharing of problems and funny moments will help me to improve this skill. 
Communication It will help me to convey my emotions and commands to the team members properly High Within 6 months Normal I need to be engaged in communication training programs
I also need to be engaged in 
Self awareness skill It will help me to understand my ability and competencies better High Within 1 year Normal It can be done through reflective learning, especially by periodic reflection on own competencies 
Intend for excellenceIt will help me to bring perfection in my task 
Further, it will help me to improve my ability to work effectively 
Medium Within 6 months Normal I need to focus on quality of work along with the maintenance of deadlines
Be more openIt will help me to improve trust relationship with the team members 
It will also enable me to strengthen my relationship with the team members 
It will enable my team to work effectively for achieving tasks with quality and within the deadline 
High Within 1 year Normal I need to engage with the team members
I need to discuss personal and professional problems with the team members
I need to share my experience and skills with the team members 
To be vigilant towards work It will help me to bridge the gap in leadership 
I can be more responsible towards work 
High  Within 2 years Low I need to be careful while developing solutions whether work  related or employee conflict resolution related 
Conducting research and gathering knowledge on ethical leadership It will help me to gain knowledge regarding leadership and its attributes 
I will also be able to find out examples of leaders who has led their team front the front 
I can be able to learn new methods of leadership applied by successful leaders 
High Within 6 months High I can do it by doing internet research
Reading of books, case studies and conducting interviews with leaders can be helpful to gain important insight regarding leadership  and competencies required for leadership 

Table 2: Personal development plan

(Source: Self developed)


Conclusion: 

Thus, the assignment focuses on core leadership competencies and skills that are necessary for a leader to have for leading and managing people within an organisational context. It has become clear that having all the qualities of a leader is not possible for a person at instance. However, through practice and development activities, gaps in leadership competencies can be fulfilled and thus, can be helpful in improving overall leadership trait. 

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