I am working part time at Australian Fresh Company which provides herbs such as basil, thyme, sage etc. for supermarkets in Victoria namely Coles, Safeway and ALDI. The company supplies 90% herbs in Victoria. This company has been organized into different departments however packing department, where I am working now, is one of the most important ones. Our packing team comprises 25 workers, supervised by Teresa. She has been working as a leader of the team for 4 years. Her job is organizing employees and keeping the team focused and on track to complete their task with high efficiency in terms of time and task outcome.
Interestingly, she has done a good job without attending any management or business course. From my observation she possesses the quality of a good leader. Personality traits: Henrikson (2006) stated that “a great leader is made not born”. However, Teresa has not graduated any management or business schools but she still can become a great leader. Except for my observation, this report bases on my experiences when I was working with her and analysis of the data, gather from the interview to describe her leadership behaviour, style and motivation.
A self-confident team leader of group facing a seemingly impossible deadline might tell the group ‘we are understaffed and overworked, but I know we can get this project done on time. I’ve been through tough demands like this before. If we work like a true team, we can pull it off. ” (Daft et al. 2010, p35) and Teresa is that kind of leader. In our department, teamwork plays a remarkably important role for the reason that we have to pack many kinds of herbs for different customers who have different requirements and standards.
The huge workload cannot be done by individual. If we just do it and care about individual benefit we cannot complete the task well. As a result, everyone have to take responsibility on what they are doing. If we just do the job as long as we finish a working day soon, our products will be made with mistakes the buyers will reject them. Consequently, the company will ask the leader for her or his responsibility. From my observation, Teresa has strong self-confidence and she has been successful in creating its influence on us.
For example, when we received boxes herbs that are not good enough in quality as what we need to provide to our high-demand customer like Coles or Safeway. That put us into difficult situation, we have to both finish it on time and spend more time on cleaning them. In these cases, Teresa always said to us that she knew our inputs are very bad but she also knew her group members have enough skills to solve this problem. She asked us to try your best to do it as well. In other words, she always keeps everything under her control and makes it understood to other members.
Moreover, she is a modest leader and honest to team members that makes us more and more respect her. Teresa is also one of owners of the company and at the same time, a leader of my team. However she always keeps close and shares her experiences with us. She used to work like us but under worse environment and equipment therefore she understood how it is hard for her employees. This is the reason why she has tried to improve the working conditions providing her employee basic needs. Now we have better working environment and equipments that makes us feel much more convenient and increase more output.
Stephen G. Harrison indicated that “great leadership is manifested or articulated by people who know how to understate it. There is leader value in humility, the leader that comes from putting people in the limelight, not yourself. Great leadership comes from entirely unexpected place. It’s understatement, it’s dignity, it’s service, it’s selflessness” (Daft et al . 2010, p35) . From my understanding, Teresa is the kind of leader who is describing above. I think she is a born leader but she always studies and improves her leadership skills via her working experiences.
Leadership behaviors I have been working there for 3 months which is not long enough to understand a person. Nevertheless, what I can see and feel when I am working with my leader is that she is a very friendly and warm person. Analyzing the data I think her leadership behavior is consideration (employee orientation) – leaders are concerned about the human needs of their employees. They build teamwork, help employees with their problems, and provide psychological support (Dickie & Dickie, 2006).
I still remember my first day come there to work, I were very scared of her because she is a leader. However, she knew it and helped me overcome that fear. She said “don’t worry, I know this is your first day training, I will share with you my experiences to improve your skills”. She always asked old members to help and share job with new members. That makes us more cohesiveness. I strongly believe my analysis is correct because I used a questionnaire with three questions measuring items about consideration in the text book to support my feeling. There are 1.
Do personal favors for people in the work group. (Daft et al. 2010, p69) In fact: she always has lunch and tea time with group members. She cares about everyone in group. There are many students like me working part time there and when we have assignment or exam she always give us enough time to study. She tries her best to find someone replace us so that we can have a day off while the production chain is still done well. Otherwise, she is very flexible when she is in charge that is other trait she has. 2. Treat all people in the work group as your equal (Daft et al.2010, 69)
In fact: Teresa is very clear about that. When she divided job to group members, only one thing she cares about that is how we can expand our skills and feel comfortable on the job to make the job done on time. Her relationship is not what she is wondering about. Her method is old staffs have to teach and train new staffs while new staffs have to learn and improve their skills to understand the strategy of the organization. Everyone is equal in her team. 3. Do little things to make it pleasant to be a member of the staff (Daft et al.2010, p69)
In fact: Teresa usually helps new staffs and talk to them, told them some stories about herself. I think that is small thing but actually makes us feel she is a friend more than a leader. Also, we always feel easy when we make communication and sharing with her about our self. I think that is the way she can understand more about her members. Over all, Teresa has created an environment of emotional support, warmth, friendliness, and trust. That is characteristic of consideration leadership behavior.