ORGANIZATIONAL LEADERSHIP CAPSTONE 3
Eachand every person is a leader in his/her own capacity. For instance,we all manage our time, relations, finances, and careers. It has beenadvocated that organizations should shift from management toleadership if they are to reap the best out of their employees. Thispaper will examine the leadership theories revealed, classify theleadership style and evaluate the followership at W.L. Gore &Associates.
Analysisof the W.L. Gore case reveals a number of leadership theories inpractice. The first leadership theory that the case presents isleader-member exchange (LMX) transactional leadership theory. Allassociates are considered leaders in their own way, and through thesponsorship program, the leader transacts with the new employee, andthey exchange values and ideas. As the theory holds, humans are morelikely to engage with individuals that add value to their strengths(Bass, 2009). The employees being sponsored engage with theirsponsors because they (sponsors) add value to their strengths.
Anothertheory that is revealed is the transformational leadership theory,majorly centering on Burn`s transformational leadership theory. Thistheory advocates for a people-centric approach to leadership, wherethe leader utilizes resources such as existing values, goals, andcapabilities to guide followers from a seemingly ‘dark` region to‘sunlight` (Bass, 2009). At W.L. Gore, when an employee joins orwhen an employee is moved into a different role, they are deemed tobe raw, in the darkness. The starting sponsor, therefore, utilizesthe available resources in the organization to guide such an employeefrom a state of not knowing to a state of knowledge and expertiseready to sponsor others as well. The sponsorship program in itself isdesigned to transform the employees from naivety to expertise. Itchanges the perceptions, knowledge and skills set of the employee.
Laissez-fairebehavioral leadership theory is also evident. There are no bosses atW.L. Gore. No one interferes with what an employee does. Employeesare accorded freedom to make their decisions and work unsupervised.Because of the sponsorship program, employees at this company arehighly capable. Hence, they are able to perform their duties withoutsupervision. The leadership structure at W.L. Gore & Associatesdoes not provide for supervisors or managers all are leaders intheir capacities.
Democraticleadership is evident at W.L. Gore & Associates. The absence of ahierarchy implies that there is no one person or a few individualswho impose decisions on the rest. It is a level playing field whereeveryone has a chance to give their input. Nothing is forced down thethroat of any of the employees. This way, the employees of thecompany feel appreciated and develop a sense of ownership. They haveensured that they do what is required of them to the best they can.This is why the company has remained in an enviable position as faras revenues and employee satisfaction on the globe are concerned.
Characterizingthe leadership style at W. L Gore & Associates
Theleadership at W.L. Gore & Associates can be described as both joband employee centered. First of all, we see that the employees aregiven free will to speak out their thoughts and also workinnovatively. Through this, the employees get encouraged, and in anycase of wrongs or right doing, they state their opinions which willhelp in improving their working conditions (Owen, 2014). By this, thecompany achieves more than expected, among them being customersatisfaction, employee motivation, and product quality improvement.
Wecan also term it as job-centered because as seen, the company hasmostly skilled workers and they allow them to work with theirinnovative thoughts. Many individuals have different ideas orthoughts which lead to the uniqueness of each product made from thecompany. It is the trust conferred in the staffs that encourages themto work to their utmost ability. The advantages are viewed in theproducts produced and happiness of the sponsors and employees. Thesponsorship program can also be seen as job-centered since it focuseson developing an individual for the job. The program imparts skills,knowledge, and attitude in the employees that help them to performastoundingly on the job. It can be termed to be a win-win situation.
TheFollowership at W. L. Gore & Associates
Fora company of this type to achieve its proposed followership, somerules or principles need to be set. Hence, four principle measuresupon which the quality of the followership is being measured wereestablished by the founder of W.L Gore & Association. The firstprinciple measure that exists at this company is the liberty toassist, confide and provide knowledge and training to the associateso that he or she would be able to attain professional skills andlearning. Sponsors are matched with new employees at will, and somesponsor while also being sponsored. Another measure is the equalityor fairness and justice with each and every associate and individualattached to this organization. The lattice structure ensures equalityfor all. The third measure that has been set up is consultation withthe associates before making a decision or taking action that couldaffect the reputation of the company. The CEO consults the associatesbefore making decisions. In fact, these decisions are largelycontributed by the associates, not the CEO.
Thefourth principle is ensuring all associates and individuals in thecompany have the highest commitment to the organization. This is aconsiderable principle of management, where the employees of W.L.Gore & Associates incorporate the values that the organizationstands for values that were held by the founders. This is thedriving force behind the success of this company. Fairness andequality have arguably the most impact on the followers. Theassociates remain committed to the company and follow the guidance ofthe founders due to the sense of equality.
Inconclusion, W.L Gore & Associates is a uniquely structuredcompany which empowers its employees to deal with their work in theirways. This type of structure is known to lead to numerous innovationsand experimental works. The leadership style at the company, wherethere is no hierarchy, presents motivation and self-responsibilityamong the staffs.
Bass,B. M. (2009). The Bass Handbook of Leadership: Theory,Research and Managerial Application.4th ed. Free Press: New York, NY.
Owen,J. (2014). The Leadership Skills Handbook: 50Essential Skills You Need To Be A Leader.3rded. Kogan Page Publishers.