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Abstract: This paper explores 2 different leadership styles in 2 different cultures, the applicability of the Hersey and Blanchards

model to different cultures. David Manager in the UK David was my manager while I worked in the United Kingdom. We were associated for more than two years. David was the project leader for the Wing Digital Mock up team. The main objective of the team was to implement the concept of Digital Mock Up (DMU) for the first time and to resolve the clashes between aircraft components which were being worked upon by separate teams in an early stage of the design life cycle. The team under David and was divided based on various structural modules. As a leader, David came across as a supportive and charismatic person. He was very hard working and highly motivated. He was casual and friendly in his general approach and was well versed in his area of work. He discussed problems and understood the opinion of the team before taking a decision. He was able to convince people by selling the ideas and the potential benefits. He was a patient listener and was very considerate to the views of others.

Type of situations and various leadership styles

Looking at the entire duration of the DMU implementation project, the following phases can be identified

Team formation developing the experts & gaining acceptance During the first phase of the project, the DMU team was built up by David. In this period, David was involved deeply in all technical issues of the work, personally coaching every team member. This was required as the area of work, the concepts and the objectives were all new. There were lots of valuable ideas which also came up from the team members during weekly drumbeat meetings. During this period, David was more of a knowledgeable team member than a leader. The team members were eager to do the work. By the end of this phase, the expertise of the team was brought to a level where they could perform tasks independently. During this phase, David also had to get other department managers to accept his project implementation plans. For this purpose, workshops were held in which the idea of DMU was propagated and a buy in was obtained. In these groups, David shared his ideas and facilitated decision making. Most of the people involved in these meetings were willing to accept the new methodology. Some managers of course opposed the changes, and David had to convince them to accept the changes.

Mapping the behaviour of the leader and the followers in this phase onto the Hersey and Blanchards situational model1, the DMU team started as R2 and was closer to R4 by the end of the phase. The other managers participating in this project were at R2 or R3. With respect to the DMU team, the style of the leader was predominantly selling (S2) with some participating (S3) style. In regards to other group managers, Davids leadership style can be mapped more as participating (S3) with some selling (S2).

The Subsequent Project Phases

After the initial phase, the DMU team expanded, and the new way of working was rolled out. During these phases, David was more in the role of a facilitator. The DMU team roles were clearly defined and the responsibilities delegated. David presided over the meetings when required and gave guidance and direction to the team for further stages of implementation. In the Hersey and Blanchard's model, this leadership behavior can be mapped as Delegating (S4) for most of the cases. With regards to strategic or critical decisions, David chose to make the decisions himself and tell the team. This was closer to the Telling (S1) or Selling (S2) style. In these phases of work activity, the DMU team was highly competent and committed to carry out the work. (R4). Crisis Situations During the execution of the project, there were a few crisis situations and in such scenarios, David took over most of the decision making and his leadership style changed to Telling (S1) and the team followed the style of R1. Assessment of Hersey and Blanchard's Theory If we look at the project life span, the leadership style of David and the actions of the followers, we can see considerable change of style from one situation to another. David who started with a telling (S1) style in the beginning progressed to Selling (S2) and participating (S3) styles as his confidence in the team grew. When the team was sufficiently experienced, he moved on to a delegating (S4) style of leadership. When interacting with peers or superiors, he changed his leadership style to a combination of selling (S2) and participating (S3) styles. David again changed his style during a crisis to suit the situation. This change in leadership style based on the context and the followers clearly substantiates the Hersey and Blanchard theory. The table below shows Davids style compared against the Hersey and Blanchard model. [pic] As can be seen in the comparison above, the model has a good overall match to Davids overall leadership style. Though superficially it would look like the Hersey and Blanchard model explains Davids leadership styles exactly, a closer look provides a different picture. David's style of leadership was very intuitive, flexible and dynamic and on many occasions was a mixture of more than one style. The classification of his styles into S1, S2, S3 etc becomes very blurry. It could be well argued that David changed his behaviour as per his intuition and chose the best possible style for the situation, not specifically S1 or S2 or S3. Even though most of Davids behaviour can be

mapped into the model, David did much more as a leader. Considering his role as a leader in the overall sense, David led and developed his team, he encouraged change, he was able to implement a new way of working and he convinced an entire organisation to adapt to the new way of working. This satisfies most of the criteria in the Transformational leadership Questionnaire developed by Beverly Alimo Metcalfe and John Alban-Metcalfe (2002, 2003, 2004)2. Based on this Davids style can be considered transformational. David was a considerate, transformational leader who believed in what he did and carried it along with perseverance and was successful in transforming the existing way of working to the digital, more efficient way. Prakash Leader in India Prakash was a Group Project Leader in my company and I have worked with him for more than 3 years on many challenging projects. Prakash typically managed groups of up to 60 people. The projects were in the domain of aero structure design and development, involving complex tasks with high amount of change in the various parameters involved and very stringent deadlines. The teams were functionally divided based on various modules, each module being handled by a module leader. Prakash was responsible for all deliveries from the group. His usual interaction with the teams was through various weekly meetings and technical reviews. As a leader, Prakash came across as a powerful figure. He was friendly, but more task oriented in his approach. He socialised with a select group of people, but outside this group, he was reserved. Prakash took over the group when the team size was only 10, and within the period of a year, the group was almost 60 members strong. There was substantial amount of growth and success within the group. The group was very happy and enthusiastic about the work it did and the successes it achieved. Everybody was happy to have Prakash as their leader. Prakash was hardworking, ambitious and trustworthy. He used to take care of his subordinates and did his best to ensure that all team members are satisfied to the best possible extent. He was transparent in his interactions and his feedback. Prakash used to be consistent with his leadership styles, using typically two styles one in which he believed his subordinate's capability and trusted him and the other in which he told the subordinate what he had to do. For all critical decisions, Prakash's involvement in the decision making process was very high. Prakash used various systems or automations to track the output at regular intervals. He ensured control over the key project parameters at all points of time. Type of situations and various leadership styles Addition of new team members - During the initial phases, the team grew from 10 people to roughly 60 people. Large groups of newcomers joined the existing team. The initial members took up higher roles and the pyramid grew beneath them. Prakash had a closer relation to the first members of the group and delegated authority to them to guide the newcomers. Prakash allocated tasks and kept track of the completion of the activities. Prakashs interaction with the group was higher in this phase and his leadership style was closer to Telling (S1). The new members underwent specific tool trainings before joining the group. The new members were generally R2 or R4 level. So if they failed on the job, Prakash took on the task of additionally helping them, either himself or through other group members. Mature Stable team After the period of tremendous growth, the projects were stable and the teams knew what they had to do. The module leaders had a good understanding of the overall project requirements. The followers could be mapped on to the R4 level of the Hersey and Blanchard model. During this period, Prakash delegated a certain amount of authority to his module leaders. He interacted with them closely and explained his decisions and had discussions with the module leaders on improving the efficiency of project processes, training requirements etc. Still he exhibited a task oriented style of leadership, where in he kept a constant track of what was going on. He always operated with team in a constant style which can be mapped closest to the Selling (S2) style with a small amount of delegating (S4) style. Crisis Crisis usually happened in the form of quality issues in deliveries or slipped deadlines and due to conflict between various teams. At times of crisis, there was interaction between Prakash and team members of all levels. The team members in these situations were generally insecure or needed direction, though they were eager to solve the problem. The follower readiness was low, typically R1. Prakash used to adopt a very direct style and closely monitored the tasks, the actions and the results of his subordinates. This behaviour could be mapped on to the Telling (S1) style of leadership. Interaction with peers, Superiors - The situations where Prakash had to lead people of his same level were rare. But when such situations arose, he adopted an indirect way. His method was to approach his superior, explain him the situation and convince the superior using logic or personal relationships. Once consent was obtained from the superior, Prakash usually had the authority to enforce his method. His interaction with his peers was then based on this authority. He used to share and discuss his ideas at the peer level but the outcome of the discussion was based more on the authority. His style could be mapped closest to participating (S3) in the Situational Leadership model. Assessment of Hersey and Blanchard's Theory Looking at Prakashs leadership styles over the entire duration of the project, it can be seen that the style changed with the context and the follower type. Starting with a style close to S1 at the beginning of the project, Prakash moved on to S2 style (with some S4) during the more mature phases of the project. When interacting with peers, superiors, Prakash changed his style to participating (S3). During crisis, he adopted a telling S1 style. These changes in leadership style are in accordance with the Hersey and Blanchard model. The table below compares Prakashs style with the suggestions from the Hersey and Blanchard model. [pic] As can be seen from the comparison above, Prakashs style differs from what is suggested as the ideal solution based on theory. The Hersey and Blanchard theory only partially explains Prakashs styles. Prakash was very successful as a leader and his team members were happy with him and respected him. His leadership style variations were limited and the styles were almost constant for long periods. As a leader, he maintained a certain distance from his subordinates. There was always a certain mix up of personal factors into decision making especially when resolving conflicts. Also Prakash used to take care of his subordinates on personal aspects. This personal angle in Prakashs leadership behaviour cannot be accounted for using the Hersey and Blanchard model. The deviation in Prakashs styles primarily comes from the various cultural factors that are specific to the IndDavid society and hence the

Hersey and Blanchard model needs adaptations when it is applied to distinct cultures. Prakashs style could be better be explained as a combination of Golemans3 PaceSetting and Affiliative styles. Prakash had a great deal of energy, set high standards and goals and was able to meet very challenging deadlines. He also took care of his team members well. With his leadership style, Prakash could achieve very high quality results in a very short time frame, which resulted in further high volumes of business, high growth in the team and a satisfied customer. Hersey and Blanchard Theory Generalisation - Applicability to other cultures In David and Prakash, we have two successful managers from two different cultures who have different styles. The table below shows a comparison between their respective styles in response to similar situations: [pic] Davids style is almost clearly explained by the Hersey and Blanchard theory except for the fact that there was probably not a very clear distinction between various styles (S2 and S3 for eg). Prakashs style deviates farther away from this theory. Based on these, the following statements of the Hersey and Blanchard theory can be generalized to both the cultures: 1. The leadership behaviour should change appropriately to suit the context and the type of followers 2. It is the leader who should change his style to be effective The leadership style of Prakash is a clear indicator of the impact of cultural influences involved when taking the theory out of the Anglo context. [pic] Fig 1 - Hofstedes cultural dimensions4 A look at Hofstedes4 dimensions for UK and India shows that India has a much higher Power Distance Index. This cultural dimension probably limits the leader from operating in the S2 and S3 styles with the entire team. This dimension also makes the leadership style more authoritative in nature. The IndDavids have a much higher Long term Orientation and this leads to the factor of trust to come into play into relationships between the leader and the followers. The IndDavid culture is also more collectivist and paternalistic5. In combination of various other historical factors, this brings about very different kind of leadership style which would be successful in the IndDavid context. Because of these cultural differences, the Hersey and Blanchard model must be adequately modified to suit the cultural aspect. For the IndDavid culture, the modification should take into account: - The higher Power distance Index of the IndDavid culture IndDavid leaders would prefer to use more of Telling (S1) style, limits the extent of participative style (S3) - The higher Long term orientation Trust in relationships, build long term relationships - Lower individuality Alters the group dynamics and hence requires the leader to adapt his style accordingly The IndDavid follower generally expects these from the leader. Conclusion What is evident from the styles of two leaders discussed above is that there is variation in what the best style should be for a given situation. There is proof that the leader should adapt his style according to the context and the follower. The Hersey and Blanchard model can explain the behaviour of the leaders to a certain extent, though strict compartmentalization of styles does not clearly apply to practical scenarios. Further, this model is more suited in the Anglo context and cannot be generalized completely across various cultures. Cultural aspects play a defining role when choosing the best leadership style. It is best left to the intuition and personal style of the leader to choose the exact course of action. The Hersey and Blanchard situational model can definitely provide valuable guidance to any leader in this regard but it should be considered in the context of other cultural and environmental factors. References: 1. Paul Hersey and Kenneth H Blanchard, Management and Organisational Behaviour (Englewood Cliffs, NJ : Prentice Hall, 1988) 2. Andrzej A Huczynski and David A Buchanan, Organisational Behaviour (Prentice Hall, 2007) 3. Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis, Annie Mc Kee, Primal Leadership (Havard Business School Press, 2002) 4. G. Hofstede, Cultures Consequences, Second Edn. (Sage Publications, 2001) 5. David J Hickinson and Derek S Pugh, Management Worldwide Distinctive styles amid globalization, Page 266 (Penguin Books, 2001)