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Leading and Motivation: Case study of FedEx and UPS Inc. Leading

 
            Introduction: leadership is the process of influencing people to contribute willingly to the goals and objectives of the organization. Leaders are required in organizations to help unite people and reduce conflicts between different stakeholders. There are many challenges that leaders encounter and they must be prepared to face such challenges. Change management is an important skill that leaders should have because there many processes which change within the organization. Leaders must possess good interpersonal skills so that they can relate well with their followers to achieve the goals which have been set (4). This section of the paper deals with discussing how leadership can be applied in an organization to achieve goals and solve problems. A case study of FeEx Inc has been used with a clear analysis of leadership skills applied by Fred Smith, the founder of FedEx.
Leaderships: Fred Smith is a renowned leader who founded FedEx Inc. after serving in the Vietnam military in the position of a marine back. It is from the military job that Fred acquired his leadership skills and this helped him pursue his business successfully. Fred opined that the military teaches its officers good leadership skills with an emphasis on influencing people to achieve organizational goals. Military leadership requires that a leader should trust his followers will achieve the set goals. Leaders in the military must ensure that their followers achieve the goals which have been set. Failure to achieve the goals can lead to serious mistakes especially in war where a simple mistake can cause death to a lot of people. According to Smith, leaders are required to get the maximum output from their followers by encouraging them to contribute all their effort towards the achievement of the goals of the organization (7).
Efficiency in communication has been identified by Fred Smith as the most important aspect in achieving good leadership skills. In addition, leaders must provide feedback to their followers to ensure a complete understanding between and among people in an organization. Fred was also of the opinion that managing change in an organization is very important as a strategy of achieving goals and overcoming competition from other players in the industry. He also explained that in an organization report cards are important so that employees can know what is expected of them and how to perform duties assigned to them (7). Employees need to be appreciated for their contribution towards the goals of the organization by providing them with attractive rewards, sharing in the profits made by the organization among other incentives (4).
There is a time when FedEx Express National, a subsidiary of FedEx was faced with low employee motivation and high rate of turnover. This was a great challenge especially when the company was launching its new products. To solve this problem, the managers of FedEx used 360-degree feedback system to identify the causes of the problems facing the company as well as to identify leadership strengths and weaknesses as applied by the managing director and the senior managers (5). The analysis found out that there was inefficient communication between the managing director and the senior managers. To solve this problem, the managing director improved communication among the employees. This created trust among the employees and their leaders and the company was able to improve communication systems among all stakeholders. This reduced the rate of employee turnover and the work environment was favorable for achieving goals of the organization. The performance of the employees also improved.
To improve the performance of employees Fred Smith encouraged efficient communication between the leaders and their followers. Fred Smith encouraged the workers to put all their effort towards performing their jobs because they doing very noble business which was important to many people in the world. Smith was able to maintain change within the company depending on the prevailing conditions. For example, smith developed Zapmail in the 1980’s to improve communication among all stakeholders of the organization. This technology led to the development of a worldwide express market. FedEx continued changing its systems to avoid risks of competition from other companies in the industry (7).
Summary: From the case study of Fred Smith is observable that leadership is based on efficient communication, good feedback system and adapting to change. Feedback system is used to identify the source of conflicts within an organization while communication helps identify solutions to the conflicts. Therefore, communication and feedback complement each other. Adapting to change helps improve workplace environment. Adapting to change requires taking risks to overcome the turbulent workplace environment. Thus, success in an organization is achieved by using good communication and feedback systems as well as adapting to change.
Motivation
Introduction: Employees have needs which need be satisfied and failure to satisfy these needs can cause poor performance. They are motivated to work towards achieving the goals of the organization when their needs are satisfied. Therefore, motivation can be explained as the aspiration to satisfy needs by an employee in an organization. Employees are willing to contribute towards the goals set by an organization when their needs are satisfied. Competition in the global markets has intensified and there is need to come up with strategies of motivating employees to come up with innovative ideas about production (3).
In this section, two companies FedEx and UPS Inc. will be studied in terms of how the company motivates its employees to improve performance.
Motivating employees: Job satisfaction improves the level of motivation for employees. Employees who are motivated and satisfied with their jobs have the ability to contribute willingly to the objectives of the organization. Maximum output is provided by employees when they are motivated to work. Managers should realize that employees are the greatest assets that an organization has and they should be treated with care. FedEx is a company that appreciates its employees and encourages them to contribute willingly to the goals and objectives that have been established. The company has realized that having the most efficient equipment and technologies is not as important as having motivated employees. Organizations experiencing a lot of changes within a short period of time require motivated employees so that they can keep pace with the changes being experienced at the workplace. (1). It is also important for employees working in such a work environment to socialize and understand each so that they can know the strengths and weaknesses of their colleagues. This creates effective teamwork at the workplace.
Organizations can use monetary or non-monetary motivational strategies to improve their performance. FedEx has been applying the two methods to motivate its employees. Examples of such motivational rewards include job promotions, training employees on new technologies, paid leaves, awards and other motivational strategies. UPS Inc has also applied a motivational system similar to that of FedEx. To achieve its motivational goals, the company has introduced strategies such as 401(k) plan, healthcare plans among other strategies (6).
FedEx Motivation: There is a compensation and reward program that was established by the company to motivate employees, encourage innovative ideas and encourage teamwork within the organization. To achieve this, the company has established several programs such as increasing the wages for employees, offering training sessions, paid leaves, offering discounts for travels and shipping rates on employees and other programs. Promotional incentives at the company are offered depending on the performance of employees. Employees are trained on modern and up-coming technologies to equip them with changes in the global market. Paid leaves are offered when employees require maternity, marriage or paternity leave. Employees are offered a discount on their travels and shipment of goods to encourage them uses the services of the company and feels to be part of the company. Special awards are offered to employees with improved performance during a specific period (2)
UPS Motivation: The Company has adopted the strategy of offering continuous training to its employees to maintain the quality of performance. Employees are offered opportunities to advance their education in support from the company. Employees are promoted depending on the level of education they have acquired from the sponsorship of the company. Gradual growth in career is maintained by offering employees the opportunity to learn step by step until they achieve good skills. Other benefits accrued from working at the company are paid weekends and holidays, healthcare benefits and others. Workers at the supply chain departments are offered with financial assistance, dental and vision insurance schemes, and other types of insurance, as well as retirement benefits and the 401(k) scheme. Freight employees are offered with schemes such as 401(k) plans, medical cover, dental and vision insurance paid leaves(8). These incentives have motivated the employees of UPS and the company has been able to achieve most of its objectives because employees are ready to work towards achieving the goals. UPS has been able to maintain a high level of competition in the market by adopting better human resources management strategies which have placed it at a competitive edge in the market.
Summary: Motivation is an important aspect in an organization that makes employees to improve their efficiency leading to improved performance. Motivation provides incentives to employees to improve the quality of their work and to perform in a timely manner. Rewards given to employees motivate them to provide extra time to the job they are assigned. The success of a business depends on the ability of the managers to motivate and encourage its employees to contribute willingly towards the goals and objectives of the organization. Employees are not only motivated by monetary factors and managers should use a mixture of strategies to motivate their employees. Managers should be able to identify what motivates their employees most to avoid investing blindly towards motivational strategies. Motivation has been identified as a factor which reduces employee turnover and encourages them to become efficient in their activities. The motivational schemes should be changed constantly to ensure employees graduate from one level of motivation to another. This should be done to avoid stagnation at one level of motivation.

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