Employee’s Motivation and Performance as a Challenge in Small Enterprises

Introduction

For a business to attain its objectives, i.e. profit maximization the management should pay keen attention to employee performance and motivation. Employee performance and motivation present a real and current challenge that is facing team leaders. The better the employee is motivated the easier it becomes for the firm to attain its goals. Through proper employee motivation, the firm can be able to gain a competitive advantage against its competitors. This is because it will be able to attract and maintain qualified employees considering the competitive nature of the business environment.

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There is a relationship between managers and leaders since an organization’s operation has got different levels of management. These include the top, middle and first-line management levels to which team leaders belong. The leader is incorporated into the management by leading a group of employees who are supposed to obtain directions from him.

Leadership

Leadership is concerned with influencing and promoting others to get things done. A leader refers to an individual whose role is to influence others to attain the tasks that have been delegated to them in a manner that is that directs the organization in a more coherent way. This means that a leader is aimed at influencing a team at achieving a common objective, (Northouse 2004).

A team consists of a small group of employees with different skills that can be combined to achieve a given task. Considering the case of F1M2-IMMOBILIARIA, the female leader was to lead a team of four employees with the prime objective of motivating them. The team leaders are delegated tasks by the managers so that they can lead the teams in the attainment of the objectives of a certain project. (Katzenback & Smith 1993).

Despite the link, there is a difference between leadership and management. Leadership deals with the invention and innovation of change that helps the organization adapt to environmental dynamics. On the other hand, management is concerned with the planning, staffing, organizing, control and directing procedures of the whole organization.

Considering the case of the leader attached at F2M1-IMMOBILIARIA limited, she was faced with the role of managing different employees and ensures that they contribute to the achievement of the organizational goal. To effectively conduct her role in ensuring effective motivation, she had to address other tenet issues. She had ensured that she adopts a leadership style that is multipurpose i.e. contributes to employee’s performance and motivation leading to the attainment of the organizational objective. She was to ensure that she consolidates the diverse personalities and relationships within a group as the team leader, (Northouse 2004).

Employee motivation and performance is an area that presents a big challenge to the team leadership function of performance and motivation.

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Performance

Campbell defines Performance as behavior that determines the outcome. The leaders should realize the fact that in tasks where people work closely or are highly interdependent, performance may include the degree to which the team leader helps out the group. This presents a leadership challenge since he or she has to be a good role model, giving advice and helping the group to achieve its goal despite the divergent views of the group members. In conducting the supervisory role, the leader is faced with the challenge in the administration of rewards and punishment based on the employee’s performance (Campbell 1990).

This is because he is responsible for monitoring group and individual progress towards the goal and at the same time monitoring the organization’s resources.

It might prove challenging to the leader in the situation of rewarding a group. This is because some of the group members may not have been effective in the achievement of the group goal yet the whole group is to be rewarded. Some of the group members may feel demoralized thus reducing their input. The period, within which the leader was attached to lead employees, F1M2-IMMOBILIARIA was undertaking modernization of its operation. As a leader, she was to ensure that she makes relevant changes that were to affect employees and yet she had to motivate them. She had to change the perception of the employees who were not ready to receive orders from a female leader. She had was to lead employees who were adamant about a change of leadership.

Considering the fact that F2M1-IMMOBILIARIA subcontracts other employees to perform certain tasks, she had the role of ensuring that the subcontracted employees adapt to the organization’s leadership within the period that they will be subcontracted. They might perceive the leadership of F2M1-IMMOBILIRIA to be diverging from their own leadership. As a leader, she has to assign different tasks that require differing inputs from the individual assigned yet the performance standard used to evaluate the outcome may lead to conflicting views of the parties involved. This is due to the employee’s multidimensional view of job performance (Campbell 1990).

Motivation refers to the choice of the employee to expend effort, the level to expend and the choice to persist in the expenditure of the effort.Motivation reflects the direction, intensity and persistence of volitional behaviors (Campbell 1990).

Motivation refers to the intention of achieving a goal leading to the development of goal-directed behavior. Campbell, an emphasis that motivation is a direct determinant of employees’ behavior. The team leader is faced with the challenge of harmonizing these differing determinants of performance amongst the employees.

Types of leadership style

The types of leadership that the firm uses have a direct relationship with the motivation and performance level of the employees. Before adopting a particular leadership style the management should comprehensively analyze its effects on the employees. To bring positive change to employees’ performance, the management should include democratic or participative leadership which allows the subordinates to participate in decision making. The autocratic type of leadership discourages subordinates from participating in decision-making. The democratic autocratic dimension relates to gender roles since one aspect of agentic norms associated with these roles is that men are more dominant and controlling i.e. are more autocratic and directive in relation to women. (Yochanan &Paul 1998).

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According to Northouse, women who are in leadership have been cited as those who prefer the use of consensus while making decisions related to the operations of the team. They also encourage a productive approach to solving conflicts. This leads to a good working environment since there is the promotion of diversity within the team as team members contribute to decision making, (Northouse 2004).

Theory of Leadership

Transformational Leadership and Its Support

To be effective leaders should adopt the transformational type of leadership. This type of leadership is concerned with changing the entire organization and therefore sets high standards for behavior which act as a motivation to the employees.

They also present themselves as role models to their followers by gaining the employee’s confidence and trust. These leaders state future goals and even set plans to achieve them. They innovate even when the organization they are leading is successful. These leaders are concerned with mentoring and empowering their followers so that they can develop to their full potential consequently contributing to the organization’s potential.

Transformational leaders also stimulate creativity by nurturing the followers to think autonomously thus avoiding groupthink. They are inspirational for they communicate the importance of tasks to their followers thus the group has an energy that drives them. The group is able to identify themselves with the roles enabling them to carry out their tasks even in his absence.

Leadership and team development

In conducting her diverse role, the leader at F2MI-IMMOBILIARIA had to ensure that the team’s members acquire leadership skills so that she can effectively delegate the tasks in the event of roles becoming too much for her. This can be done by effectively communicating her objective. This is the only way he can achieve a high team performance role by first developing leadership skills amongst team members, (American Management Association, 2009)

Distributive Leadership

The leader at F2MI-IMMOBILIARIA could have adopted a participatory leadership style where the group members would be included in the team leadership. This would lead to the team accomplishing most of its tasks through delegation. Each of the employees is assigned a task that he or she will carry out satisfactorily. This would impact a sense of accountability and autonomy. This would greatly improve employee performance and motivation.

Plan of Action to Address the Leadership Challenge

Recognition

According to Northouse, leaders are expected to do more than just ensuring the accomplishment of tasks but they have other roles such as rewarding, providing psychological support such as recognition, (2004).

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The leaders should conduct impromptu employee performance appraisals. This will help the leaders identify the best-performing employees. The appraisal should form the criteria upon which the employees’ benefits are attached. Through this, the employees will understand the fact that benefits acquired are based on merit.these benefits could be in terms of promotion opportunities. The effect of the recognition process on the interpersonal relationship of the employees should be analyzed so that it does not result in unfair competition on the part of the employees. Recognition goes a long way in making individual employee’s contributions is appreciated. The employees’ performance may be assessed in terms of effort either day to day or on completion of extraordinary tasks since it reflects the degree to which the employee commits himself to the task. From the investigation, the leader of F1M2-IMMOBILIRIA noted a lack of commitment of the employees in the course of their duty. There were too many breaks and the employees only worked under supervision. In order to revert this culture, she was to ensure that individual understands their roles towards the achievement of the organization’s goals and peg rewards and punishment on their commitment.

Job Rotation

The management should ensure that it contributes to the employees’ development and empowerment. A policy that advocates for the rotation of employees amongst departments should be formulated. This gives a chance to the employees to perform various tasks and hence acquiring new skills. It also helps in the reduction of boredom those results from doing a particular task repetitively and also creating a challenge to the employees.

Despite the management advocating for rotation, the policy should be clear cut on which departments the employees of F2MI-IMMOBILIARIA S will be rotated. This is due to the fact that placement of employees in some departments can be a source of frustration to them due to their demanding nature. This may cause the employees to feel overburdened by tasks that he or she is expected to accomplish yet he does not have the required skills thus de-motivating them. Therefore a prior job scope should be determined before placing the employees on job rotation.

On job Training-OJT

Alternatively, the management can conduct on-the-job training for the employees to ensure that they are effective upon being placed in various departments.OJT is only effective after a diagnosis is carried out to determine the need for it. This reduces the possible stress resulting from the new task assigned. Training should also be carried out frequently so as to ensure that the employees are equipped with the know-how of dealing with the changing job demands resulting from the environment. Internal training presents an employee empowerment opportunity. This would be a remedy that the leader of F1M2-IMMOBILIRIA could have adopted considering the competitiveness in the construction industry. This can be effective if the team leader identifies the various roles of the team that require more training according to the organization’s future requirements.

Clear job description

A clear job description can result in solving the problems related to the performance standard criteria used in the employees’ appraisal process. The job description explains to the employee the extent to which his employment contract covers thus reducing the chances of the employee deviating. It also helps in that it reduces conflicts in terms of the subordinates’ reporting to their seniors by stipulating whom the employees should report to. This would have helped the leader of F1M2-IMMOBILIRIA in the event of subcontracting to avoid conflicts in the process of employees conducting their duties.

Modes of communication

Open communication

The organizational structure that is adopted by the management should be open communication. Open communication refers to communication that is top-down (from the management to the employees) and down-top (from the employees to the management). This will ensure that employees’ views are considered in the process of decision-making. This contributes to employees develop a positive perception of their leaders and also improves the interpersonal relationship between the employees and the leaders.

Formal and informal communication

Formal and informal communication should be used within the organization in addressing issues that affect the employees, but more emphasis should be given to formal communication. Since some of the management decisions directly contribute to employees’ performance and motivation, formal communication should be used to clarify such issues and the grapevine should be avoided as the source of information. For instance, according to the new female team leader at F1M2-IMMOBILIARIA, the communication style that was adopted by the organization is open with little emphasis on formal communication. This is a challenge to the leader in that there was a possibility of the employees doubting the credibility of the information.

Verbal communication and Written Communication

The team leader should ensure that he uses various approaches in the dissemination of information. The various forms include face-to-face, electronic means, use of notice boards and also minutes of meetings. The optimization of communication can steer an organization towards the achievement of its goals. Despite the communication at F1M2-IMMOBILIARIA being open, the leader had to ensure the relevancy of the information. This would contribute to the success of the firm which is in a highly competitive industry, (Wing Yin 1998).

Communication in the group can be a source of challenge to the team leader at F1M2-IMMOBILIARIA who already had a negative perception towards her. This is because in team leadership some instances call for one on one communication with individual team members about certain issues affecting the team. She was to share her views related to performance and motivation with team members with diverging views concerning leadership. As a team leader, she had to ensure that she utilizes both verbal and non-verbal communication to enhance communication within the team. This will bridge the gap between the members of the team and the team leader by addressing the communication challenges of team members who may have challenges with only one means of communication, hence making communication effective (Northouse 2004).

Facilitation Skills

The team leader should act as a facilitator to enhance team performance. This will include skills on how to handle different behaviors of the team members that may be disruptive and turn them into participants. He should make the team identify the learning opportunities. The facilitation skills will also involve the ability to handle special challenges such as conflicts,(Thiagi,1999).

Reflection

In order for the firm to remain competitive both locally and globally, a leadership role must be viewed as part of every employee’s job at all levels of the organization.

It is evident that there is a new approach to leadership issues with reference to employee motivation and performance. Leadership has far-reaching implications on the long-run performance of the firm and hence there is the need to deal comprehensively with the leadership challenges that arise.

The leaders have the duty of directing organizational processes and controlling employees’ performance. The relative importance of the job scope to the organization should be identified and individual differences in perception of the job should be appreciated in the process of explaining job involvement to the employees, for instance in the event of subcontracting as in the case of F1MI-IMMOBILIARIA limited.

The consideration of employee performance and motivation enables the leaders to develop a congruency of objectives. The leader should clearly understand the factors that affect individual employee performance and motivation; this will help him in the process of assigning tasks. The leaders should also develop a reliable method that can be used to measure and predict employees’ behavior under varying circumstances and its effect on their performance and motivation. Understanding the employees will make them perceive that they are being led in a democratic manner thus they can respond by improving their performance. This will reduce the chances of occurrence of conflicts related to policy issues, (Dahl, 1956).

In the case of F2M1-IMMOBILIARIA limited, the new leader attached had to supervise different roles. In this case, she was faced with a motivational challenge since she had to ensure that as a leader she demonstrates herself as a role model for the employees to emulate.

With regard to leadership, a theoretical model was developed to determine the relationship amongst subordinates manager –gender relationship, perceived leadership style, experienced frustration and optimism organization-based self-esteem and organizational commitment. The result was that gender combination was independent of leadership style and has no direct impact on the employees level of performance,(Janet, Kennedy& Ronald 2005)

The gender of the leader at F2MI-IMMOBILIARIA being female would affect the performance and motivation of the group in that before the change, the team was being led by a male leader and they appeared to be adamant to change. Conflicts arise in the course of team operation and the team leader is supposed to lead in conflict resolution. Considering the case in F2MI-IMMOBILIARIA, the female leader was to ensure that the employee’s performance and motivation were improved whereas, before the leadership changes, the previous leader was a man which made the group resist the leadership transition. The male leader was in the 40 years age bracket whereas the female leader was younger which made the team have a perception that she had little leadership skills. This usually occurs in situations where the team links age with skills and experience.

The age difference proved to be a source of challenge to her yet she had the responsibility of establishing a link despite the age difference. The generational difference means that she had a different opinion regarding leadership from that of the team members. The team members appear to be conservative in terms of leadership skills the rampant competition required a progressive leader to cope with it through innovation. This would be by establishing a working environment based on mutual trust and collaboration between the team leader and the employees, (Judith 2001).

The effect of change of team leadership on the employees should be analyzed. A gradual change in the leadership should be adopted to enable the employees to adapt to the change. The gradual change in leadership gives room for the leader to learn the behaviors of the group he is destined to lead and then formulate strategies on how to bring change that the employees will effectively assimilate.

Change of leadership personnel within a team can be a source of conflict between the employees and their leaders. The transformational style of leadership prepares the employee to adapt to change due to its mentoring function which leads to a reduction in the level of employees stress resulting from the change in leadership. The mentoring function ensures that the employee’s level of stress is reduced thus there is a minimal effect on their performance and motivation, contributing to the developing employees to cope with job-related changes.

Global competition within various industries has to lead to the restructuring of organizational structures so as to remain competitive Leadership need to be restructured to enable the organization to derive maximum leadership value through enhancing employee performance. The long-term value of organizational leadership in enhancing organizational leadership should be focused,(Philis & Karl, 1987).

Leadership should contribute towards the realignment of the organization’s resources and its culture and also integrate employees development with organizational growth. There should be an incorporation of strategic leadership techniques that is cognizant of the employees’ importance and promote their involvement. The leadership should explain to the employees they need to shift of leadership to incorporate strategic leadership so as to enhance the organization’s competitive strategy.

A comprehension of leadership as a process that is focused on a relationship as opposed to an individual appears to have drawn a lot of attention lately. Leadership, without doubt, tends to get exercised in virtually all relationships and is inclusive of the upward relationship in an organization as well. According to Northouse (2004), “management takes place between managers and subordinates, whereas leadership takes place between leaders and collaborators” (Northouse 2004). In this case, the very essence of leadership is not so much about the leader, like the relationship. Leadership entails both collaborators and leaders in an attempt at attaining real changes within a given organization. In this case, the changes so exhibited are a reflection of the prevailing common purpose of both leaders and collaborators. On the other hand, management seeks to coordinate activities that are a reflection of the purpose of such an organization (Northouse 2004).

Transformational leadership stipulates that female managers or leaders are more transformational than their male counterparts and they push for change. This is manifested in the case of FIM2-IMMOBILIARIA where the female leader appointed to lead a group who were previously being led by a man met a lot of challenges in her effort to motivate the employees towards attaining the organization objective while the employees were adamant about the change ( Amanda &Carlton,2005).

Teamwork improves the chances of attainment of organizational goals. By enhancing teamwork leadership enables individuals to learn from one another by sharing their diverse skills. Leadership plays a major role in linking the individual and the team to the organization.

Effective transformational leadership helps in the dissolution of groupthink where employees working as a group depend on one key individual in the process of making decisions and develops individual capacity. The team leaders should be charismatic in order for the team members to emulate as role models, (Robert, 1968). It is through effective leadership that organizations can foster change by influencing the creativity and innovation of the employees. This is only possible if the leadership develops effective employee motivation strategies and puts in place support mechanisms such as open communication that will positively influence employee behavior thus encouraging innovation.

The leadership should determine the employees’ values, norms, beliefs that contribute towards or inhibit creativity and innovation depending on how they influence individual or group behavior which affects their performance.

In conclusion, the organizational leadership should comprehensively analyze the internal challenges it faces in the effort to improving its competitive advantage.

It should concern itself with the integration and adaptation of its employees to the leadership.it should ensure that the policies developed are accepted by the employees as a part of their everyday work. The leadership should be proactive in addressing employees’ needs and focus on the alignment of the team leadership strategies with its human resource management since this contributes to the competitive advantage of the firm.

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