Reflective Practice: Reflection on the Leadership Scenario

Reflective Practice: Reflection on the Leadership Scenario

  1. A situation in which you had to decide about terminating one of your subordinates or a situation in which you observed a leader terminate a fellow subordinate.

The most painful and challenging decision to make as a leader is to fire a subordinate staff even if there is evident of misconduct. This is because the decision impacts negatively on employee’s self-esteem, one’s career and entire livelihood. According to Hughes, Ginnett and Curphy (2015), this encounter is demoralizing and can result in self-doubt. Additionally, termination of employment can affect other team members negatively. This is because it alters the work arrangements and makes others to criticize your judgment as a leader. Although people have the right to challenge your actions and methods, they should do so in a professional manner because the decision to fire an employee is something that relates to past records of the employee.

Undercurrents further characterize the situation, and this makes most leaders to be driven by anxiety during the firing process. As a result, they might fail to use their intellect. For example, there was a senior manager who walked into a worker’s office and simply announced to him that he has been fired. The manager looking excited left the office after further instructing the human resource manager to walk out the employee out of the building.  The situation was challenging because the manager failed to give a previous indication of the subordinates’ misconduct or performance problems. Instead, he rated the employee highly. Consequently, he bluntly stated the reason for firing as lack of cooperation and teamwork from the employee’s side. Furthermore, there was no severance offered to the employee, and the staff’s pay was terminated with immediate effect.

Citing Hughes, Ginnett and Curphy (2015), from the perspective of a manager, the used approach avoided the stress and anxiety linked with firing. The manager did not involve himself in any performance evaluations to justify the actions. Additionally, the intent was to avoid any form of emotional scenes. However, because there is a high possibility of the above action leading to the lawsuit, the manager could have acted differently.

According to Hughes, Ginnett and Curphy (2015), it is important for leaders to ensure employee termination is the last option following a thoughtful, careful, transparent and fair process.  For example, Anderson (2012), adds that if the reason for dismissal is linked to poor performance, then it should be initiated following performance plans, documented actions, and discussions. If the reason for firing is because of job elimination or company’s reorganization, then there should be announcements, conversations or a warning. In other words, firing should not be a surprise to the employees.  The manager should follow the human resources guidelines outlined by the firm when it comes to termination of employment. Also, it is significant for the manager to hold a meeting with the affected individuals. At the meeting the manager should carefully listen to the employee without reacting. This is because being fired is a traumatic experience. Therefore, the manager could have given the employee an opportunity to talk and listen with respect. The manager should remain sensitive to the emotions of other team members and assist them in focusing back to their duties.

In conclusion, the most challenging tasks for a leader within the organization is finding a subordinate. Hence, in the event of firing, it is important for a manager to make the right decisions.  This is because termination of employment if not handled carefully can impacts negatively on the organization and other team members.

  1. 2. A situation where you had to implement change in the organisation either as a leader, or as a follower.

Boone and Makhani, (2012) predicted the significance of situations and personal traits to leadership. The author argued that transactional organizations are open to changes. This is because the present leaders are becoming more responsive, innovative, adaptive and flexible to organizational changes. In the workplace, change is a common occurrence. Therefore, it is crucial for leaders to learn about the strategies they can use to tackle them or experience derailment. For a leader to succeed in managing any change, it is important to understand how to handle the transition from the old ways to the new ones.

I witnessed a situation whereby the firm adopted IT system changes within its operations. The introduction of the IT systems was going to affect the organization in different ways. In order to ensure that is smooth transition, and the transition minimized, the management should embrace change.

According to Hughes, Ginnett and Curphy (2015), procedural and process changes forms part of not only recognizing but also revamping workplace initiatives, goals and tasks. Therefore, as a leader to successfully manage change within the organization, I had to identify the process of change and its effects on the entire organization. McCleskey (2014), further points out that it is important for leaders to create a vision so that the employees can come part of the initiated changes within the organization. For example, in the introduction and implementation of the new software, I had to identify with changes and benefits associated with the adapted IT system.

The leaders should also focus on ways of communicating the initiated changes to the interested parties. I opted to use communication strategies such as emails, especially for minimal changes that demand for no or minimal explanation. Further citing Anderson (2012), it is important for leaders to communicate all the changes with the employees or department in smaller groups. This will enabled me to customize the discussion and extensively explain how the new technologies will impact positively or negatively on the organisations operations. More importantly, it is necessary for leaders to identify with the organisation’s departments and employees who need notification about the change process. I discovered that leaving out key stakeholders out if the communication process associated with the IT system changes can lead to low productivity and interfere with relationships.

Penney (2011) adds that effective leaders builds an ideal situation for change and motivate the works towards a common goal. Drawing from McCleskey (2014), perspective, effective leaders communicate the change effectively with the objective of not only generating idea but also prioritizing them so that employees can act. Therefore, as a leader in initiating introduction of IT systems within the organization, I ensured that the employees experienced a positive change during the change process.

The most challenging step is getting alignment and trust for implementing change. This is because change impacts on the organizational boundaries in different ways. As a change, I discovered the importance of creating rapport with major players within the organization. This assisted in introducing the IT systems to them and smoothly eliminating fears that are associated with the introduced change. Anderson (2012) change leaders should understand the competing agenda and manage politics by brokering deals, minimizing uncertainty and ensuring that people are not only heard but also respected.

In sum, as a leader, I learned the importance of adapting follower-centred strategies in handling change within an organization. Therefore, leaders should constantly engage in thoughtful and intensive research into the connections between efficacy and development, followers and leaders and the organization and related changes.

  1. A situation in which you used the dark side of your leadership or a situation in which you observed the dark side of another leader.

According to Penney (2011), within the organization, conflict can manifest itself in different ways, but the major causes entail differences between goals, expectations, personality traits and values. Conflict is a normal occurrence in an organization and in most cases, managers spend more time trying to settle workplace conflicts. When a conflict escalates and the supervisor is involved, it means that the situation is already at a critical stage. Within the firms, it is crucial for employees and the entire management be not only proactive but also resolute in problem identification and resolution. If the mentioned does not occur, the outcomes are communication challenges, loss of morale, resignation and at times lawsuits (Buble, Juras & Matić, 2014). This can be demonstrated using the following scenario.

Mike, a supervisor, constantly complained of about behavior of one of his subordinates called John. Instead of approaching and summoning John to his office and solve the issue, he publicly shouted at him in front of everyone. This led to a conflict because John did not take the public outbursts and criticisms positively. John even threatened to quit from his position. However, this did not make the manager change and adapt effective conflict management techniques. Personalities of stakeholders in the structure of the organization play a critical role in conflict resolution since most of the conflicts in an organization are as a result of interpersonal relationships (Penney, 2011). In the case of Mike and John, they were incapable of resolving their issues in a miccable manner and that is why there was conflict between them.

Moreover, in the above scenario, the supervisor did not listen to the subordinate staff while dealing with the issue at hand. Citing Buble, Juras and Matić (2014), it is important for leaders to promote harmony within the workplace. Moreover, it is the role of the manager to ensure that the problem is handled with a lot of respect and with no biasedness. Therefore, the supervisor instead of approaching Mike in public, he should have listened to him with the intention of helping. This is because one of the leadership roles is to guide employees. Additionally, the leader lacked effective mediation strategies to handle his subordinates. He allowed his personal emotions to drive him, hence making the entire conflict resolution process to be seen as personal.  In relation to the scenario, McCleskey (2014) argues that people’s emotions vary, and they can motivate one to either change or maintain any existing structural relationships while redressing the conflict.

In conclusion, the important factor in handling workplace conflict is communication. The conflicting parties should not assume the situation but rather remain professional and calm. The supervisor using effective communication skills could have prevented the issue from escalating and turning into a conflict. Another mistake that the supervisor made was to let his emotions drive the decisions. The supervisor prioritized his emotions and this led to the conflict. Therefore, it is evident that the supervisor used all his dark side while dealing with Mike. This affected the employee’s morale and the overall wellbeing of the organization.



Anderson, D. (2012). Is building relationships the key to leadership? Performance Improvement, 51(2), 15-21.

Boone, L. W., & Makhani, S. (2012). Five necessary attitudes of a servant leader. Review of Business, 33(1), 83-96.

Buble, M., Juras, A., & Matić, I. (2014). The relationship between managers’ leadership styles and motivation. Management: Journal of Contemporary Management Issues, 19(1), 161-193.

Hughes, R., Ginnett, R, & Curphy, G. (2015). Leadership: enhancing the lessons of experience, 8th ed. McGraw-Hill Education, New York.

McCleskey, J. A. (2014). Situational, transformational, and transactional leadership and leadership development. Journal of Business Studies Quarterly, 5(4), 117-130.

Penney, S. H. (2011). Voices of the future: Leadership for the 21st century. Journal of Leadership Studies, 5(3), 55-62.

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