Leadership development is a process that involves assessing an organization’s needs, its capability and the requirements for development (London 2002). On assessing these needs, an evaluation is done to establish what support programs are required and the expected level of outcome on implementation. For effective leadership, it is important that the reaction from others is understood; the expectations required of them as well as finding out whether others believe in them. This is important because it helps leaders to decide what they can do in order to improve (Hughes, 2000). This paper is based on the leadership and management plan of a regional Transport Authority (Connections) company. This company monitors and regulates the provision of light rail ferry services. It also regulates the bus and regional rail which are controlled by other organizations. It is responsible to five local councils and the national transport regulator. The company has a plan to invest and continue supporting the growing number of passengers with quality customer service. This paper will introduce a proposal on how leadership can be introduced and the reward strategy that can be used to improve performance for connections. It will further outline the various methods of measuring this proposal’s performance and provide an action plan. This strategy will involve two phases. One, the managers will be let to come up with a plan on the way they will handle the situation from their own perspective. The second one will be done after the leadership development strategy. Both results will be compared to establish the effect of leadership development on the managers.
Performance Improvement Strategies
Before formulation of the working strategy it is important that the available resources are established in terms of funds, time and man power (Hannum, Leviton, martineau, & Reinelt, 2007). In the case of connections the team that is working is a group of Ninety senior and junior managers working on Thirty million dollars within a maximum of one year. The task to be completed involves; coming up with a good plan in which the organization will meet and exceed the customer’s expectations. This will be done by improving the infrastructure of the service stations and the tracks as well as technological advancements such as smart ticketing. Such operations require good allocation of funds and a system to monitor the use of these funds to ensure accountability.
Connections and the Light rail service are well established organizations which are successful based on the fact that the business has been growing, and their customers have increased. They have worked together in the past and this gives them an added advantage in working together at the present. The first step will be to establish a working environment for these two teams. It will be required that they get to know one another through formal introductions. This can be further improved by organizing a team building activity that will break the tension caused by not being familiar with one another. Communication skills are a major requirement for teams who are working together, Decision making requires that every individual is informed; leadership is effective if only leaders deliver and get feedback from the human resource that they engage. Team building will build communication skills because the parties will get to know the strengths and weaknesses of their team members. Learning team members’ personal traits helps in getting the right approach that can be used on each individual (Sindell, & Hoang, 2001).
Upon creating a rapport among the teams, it is good that they get to know who is reporting to whom (Russell, 2005). This will ensure that there is bureaucracy and each individual knows what is expected of them in the whole process. For leaders to work with their teams effectively, self awareness is an important aspect which in turn helps in building leadership in others. This creates the sense that leadership is a continuous process of learning and obtaining skills (Sindell & Hoang, 2001).This when applied to the case of connections, majority of the managers have been serving and promoted on performance. This means that they are able to deliver if given the necessary guidelines. The Fresh blood can be easily adopted into the system by engaging the older managers to leadership in the new generation. Gathering information from the new people to establish their experience and knowledge helps in matching them with the right assignments. These interactive sessions will ensure that these individuals are involved in all the planning steps. It will ensure that they are aware of what is expected of them (Carter, 2005). For connections, this can be exercised by letting the more experienced managers provide the guidelines to the new team while supporting them in terms of former strategies that worked before or correcting what did not work in the past.
Outcome can only be measured against the achieved results over a given period of time. Once the implementation process begins, progress is monitored while ensuring that it lies within the set time frame. Time frame is important for the case of connections; there are technological advancements which need to be introduced. (London, M., 2002). This being a new phenomenon which may not be familiar to all the people involved, It is important that training is done to introduce the managers to this new practice. In as much as the managers may not be carrying out these duties at the operation’s level, they need to know the likely challenges that junior employees will experience. This training will involve smart ticketing which helps in saving customer’s time, instillation of detectors which will recognize faulty wheels and sounds that indicate failure. They can learn about materials required for damage resistant wheels and detectors to any internal defects in tracks. This will familiarise them with the new technology in rail locomotion and the computer systems integrated in the rail systems. (Association of American rail roads, 2011). Once they are familiar with the new terms and technicalities, transferring this theoretical knowledge into the filed through the rest of the staff will be simpler.
Incentives motivate employees to put extra efforts in their work. Employees can not be prevented from transforming a company by the level in which they serve (Greiman & Addington, 2008). In this strategy, it would be advisable to base this on promotion because it consists of managers who are at different levels. This will ensure better output because it is significant in their career growth.
Measuring progress involves monitoring the results occurring after leadership development action taken place. There should be a relationship between the initiative and the outcomes (Ryan, 2007). In the case of connections, measurement will be based on the feedback obtained from customers. For instance smart ticketing is meant to safe time for customers by ensuring that customers take the least time possible. This will be achieved by designing forms for customers to answer whether they saved time and compare this with the former services that were available. In the case of wheel detectors and damage proof materials for tracks, this will be measured by comparing the number of incidences that repairs and replacements are done with past records before the initiatives. This data is closely related to the staff feedback because if it is positive, then it means that the change was initiated through the managers.
Getting feedback from the staff regarding the level of interaction and success achieved after the leadership development is important (Carter, 2005). This is done by comparing the outcome with the initial objective. In the case of connections the objective was to improve on customer service and ensure that new technology is adopted in the company. The response can also be compared with individual performance to establish whether the strategy had an effect on individual output. This can be done by comparing the working framework before and after leadership development.
The summary of the development strategies and the evaluation criteria is outlined in action plan; appendix A.
Leadership development is a strategy in human resource planning that provides continuous learning and acquisition of skills at the place of work. It not only provides new knowledge but also provides interactive sessions in which employees get to know one another and exploit their skills and abilities. If Connections adopted this strategy they are likely to develop new ideas on the new technology and improve their level of customer service.
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