Responses to Susan’s Leadership Dilemmas
Among the possible responses to Susan’s dilemma, the B option representing a coaching leadership style seems the most appropriate. This approach implies that a leader acts as a coach in sports, transforming employees’ physical and psychological resources into specific outcomes (Karlsen and Berg, 2020, p. 356). In other words, this style involves close communication between leaders and their subordinates, which creates a productive working environment. Coaching is a mutually beneficial process because it helps all the involved stakeholders develop their self-confidence and uncover people’s potential (Karlsen and Berg, 2020, p. 356). The given approach is suitable for Susan because she is not well familiar with the working environment, meaning that she requires the assistance of other employees to respond to the dilemma. However, she has some opinions regarding the issue, which allows her to become a coach and guide others in solving the problem.
It is worth admitting that the coaching leadership style implies some strengths, and one of them refers to promoting collaboration and two-way communication. This advantage is important because it ensures that both leaders and their subordinates are open to constructive feedback. Since authoritative behaviors are not present, employees feel their own responsibilities in addressing issues, which results in their personal and professional development. The given approach is suitable in those cases when leaders understand their role in managing the dilemma and are simultaneously ready to cooperate with subordinates to find the best solution and contribute to individual development.
However, one should emphasize that coaching leadership is not ideal because at least one weakness is related to it. In particular, the disadvantage refers to the fact that this approach is not suitable for making fast decisions. The rationale behind this statement is that leaders should allocate much time and energy to gather employees, announce some suggestions, listen to employees’ opinions, and choose the most suitable option. Consequently, the described weakness demonstrates that the coaching leadership can result in dissatisfactory outcomes when it is necessary to take immediate actions to address an emerging issue.
Theories, Concepts and Ideas
Three essential concepts seem significant when it comes to analyzing Susan’s dilemma. Firstly, it has already been highlighted that promoting collaboration is a strength of coaching leadership, but additional theoretical information is necessary to study this concept more in-depth. On the one hand, sufficient evidence demonstrates that collaboration in the workplace leads to many positive outcomes. For example, Lozano, Barreiro-Gen, and Zafar (2021, p. 729) stipulate that cooperation makes entire organizations more sustainable because this concept contributes to employees’ satisfaction, implementation of innovations, and others. One can also admit that the phenomenon under analysis is beneficial for individuals. According to Gino (2019, p. 1), collaboration is associated with feeling respect for colleagues’ contributions, being open to new ideas, and understanding how actions and words can affect others. That is why it is impossible to overestimate the significance of this concept for effective leadership.
On the other hand, one should not ignore that some challenges often impact collaboration. Some issues emerge because individuals do not know how to work in a team. For example, employees typically want to give a good impression, which makes them talk much (Gino, 2019, p. 2). This is the first challenge because good collaboration happens when individuals can listen to one another. The second issue refers to the fact that team members can misinterpret others’ emotions. Individuals can have various levels of emotional intelligence, which can lead to conflicts that significantly decrease cooperation effectiveness. In conclusion, the absence of feedback is another cooperation challenge. When some ideas or issues are left undiscussed, it can happen that employees cannot disclose their dissatisfaction or concerns. If such a scenario is present, conflict situations are likely to occur.
Secondly, the chosen response to Susan’s dilemma demonstrates that it is reasonable for her to cooperate with other team members, meaning that it is rational to comment on shared leadership. According to Scott-Young, Georgy, and Grisinger (2021, p. 569), this term stands for “leadership that emanates from the team members and not simply from the appointed team leader.” This definition demonstrates that the given phenomenon results in horizontal rather than vertical leadership, denoting that all team members are allowed and encouraged to participate in decision-making. There is no doubt that the shared leadership approach can positively affect team performance because every member feels their importance and responsibility in solving current issues. That is why scientific literature emphasizes the benefits of shared leadership, which makes this practice more requested in many organizations in the present world.
It is necessary to admit that Susan can significantly benefit from relying on shared leadership. The case study reveals that she has little experience working in the organization, which denotes that she does not have sufficient knowledge to know for sure how to address the dilemma. In this case, she requires the assistance of employees who are knowledgeable about how the organization works, but Susan does not want to delegate her full responsibility to her colleagues. That is why shared leadership is the most suitable approach for her. In particular, the selected method can allow Susan to motivate her colleagues to state their opinions regarding the problem and choose the best option. It is possible to conclude by saying that collaboration is closely connected with shared leadership, denoting that the selected concepts support and complement each other.
Thirdly, one should state that the implementation of collaboration and shared leadership will inevitably result in the fact that some colleagues can express dissent to a leader’s solutions. In this case, the most significant task is to ensure that this disagreement is constructive and does not include harassment, insult, abuse, or others. According to Wills and Tuell (2020, p. 214), constructive dissent “will allow different cultural and ideological viewpoints to emerge, thereby promoting a more inclusive environment.” This information demonstrates that leaders should not fear that some of their colleagues or subordinates will criticize the suggested idea or offer a different way to solve a problem. Instead of it, the expressed dissent is an opportunity for the team, in general, and its leader, in particular, to analyze the suggested solution once again and compare it to possible alternatives. That is why constructive dissent is a productive concept when individuals understand how to respond to it.
When it comes to Susan’s case, it seems that her colleagues are likely to disagree with her suggestions. Since the senior team members are better familiar with the organization, it is not a surprise that each of them can have some ideas on how to address the crisis. That is why Susan should be prepared to respond to these suggestions adequately. As a rule, leaders are responsible for accepting different points of view and making a decision based on the available data (Wills and Tuell, 2020, p. 214). Thus, Susan should gratefully accept constructive dissent from each team member and carefully analyze this information. It is quite possible that some of her colleagues can offer a better solution to the problem, and there is nothing wrong with accepting advice from a colleague.
Accumulated knowledge and experience result in the fact that I have specific ideas regarding the case study under consideration. If I were in Susan’s shoes, I would heavily rely on the concept of shared leadership. It has been mentioned that this style is suitable for Susan because she is not well familiar with the organization and requires assistance. However, I can also state that the given approach can be beneficial in many other environments. In particular, Zhu et al. (2018, p. 842) stipulate that this leadership style implies numerous advantages that can positively affect all team members. On the one hand, some of the benefits can be seen immediately, and they comprise improved team cohesion and trust, goal commitment, team conflict management, and others (Zhu et al., 2018, p. 842). On the other hand, Zhu et al. (2018, p. 842) admit that shared leadership leads to distant benefits, including customer satisfaction, team creativity, and improved strategic performance. That is why it is reasonable to implement the given approach in practice.
According to the information above, I can rely on shared leadership in many cases. For example, this approach is suitable if I am a leader of the team consisting of a few experienced and skillful members who can contribute to solving existing issues. I understand that this leadership style does not waive responsibility from a leader. Instead of it, an individual obtains sufficient information and others’ opinions to analyze the issue comprehensively and make the most suitable decision. That is why I believe that I will frequently use shared leadership principles in my professional practice because I see potential benefits of the given concept.
Gino, F. (2019) ‘Cracking the code of sustained collaboration’, Harvard Business Review, 97(6), pp. 72-81.
Karlsen, J. T. and Berg, M. E. (2020) ‘Coaching leadership style: a learning process’, International Journal of Knowledge and Learning, 13(4), pp. 356-368.
Lozano, R., Barreiro-Gen, M. and Zafar, A. (2021) ‘Collaboration for organizational sustainability limits to growth: developing a factors, benefits, and challenges framework’, Sustainable Development, 29, pp. 728-737.
Scott-Young, C. M., Georgy, M. and Grisinger, A. (2019) ‘Shared leadership in project teams: an integrative multi-level conceptual model and research agenda’, International Journal of Project Management, 37(4), pp. 565-581.
Willis, K. L. and Tuell, C. (2020) ‘Theoretical constructs of dissent leadership: moving from theory to practice’, Open Journal of Leadership, 9(4), pp. 214-222.
Zhu, J. et al. (2018) ‘Shared leadership: a state‐of‐the‐art review and future research agenda’, Journal of Organizational Behavior, 39(7), pp. 834-852.