- Published: October 31, 2021
- Updated: October 31, 2021
- University / College: Simon Fraser University
- Language: English
- Downloads: 29
Interviewing a branch manager is not the easiest of tasks. The task gets even more complicated when the manager is in charge of a big organization. Mr. Phil Jones is a branch manager at Wal-Mart Stores Inc. I had a comprehensive interview with him regarding his leadership style, motivational approaches, personality values managerial ethics and his key roles in the organization. The questions I asked him were open ended because I needed to know more about his style of leadership and why he chose such a style. I also sought to understand the ethical concerns facing his practice andhow he went about dealing with such concerns. This paper is a detailed description of the branch manager in light of various topics.
According to the findings from the interview, the branch manager adopts a democratic leadership style. This leadership style, according to Jones, is concerned with answering the question, “what shall we do?” According to Mr. Jones, democratic leadership style is concerned with using collective wisdom and making the employees participate in making decisions. Asked why he prefers this approach, Mr. Jones does not hesitate in replying that this style is the most effectual in dealing with situations of change. Apparently, the democratic approach makes the employees own the change and the decisions, as such, they are not likely to resist. Jones explained that employees have the tendency to resist change, even when such change is instrumental to the attainment of the organizational goals.
Jones prefers the democratic style to the authoritarian style because it is instrumental in dealing with situations where the direction of the organization is unclear. Collective wisdom is the most instrumental approach when dealing with situations where things are not clear. However, Phil Jones notes that this approach slows down decisions because of the haggling involved. The varied ideas tabled by different individuals can be really sluggish and can potentially derail decision making, where urgent situations need to be dealt with.
Another area I sought to know about was the motivational approach adopted by the branch manager in getting employees committed to the organization’s performance. With regard to motivation, Mr. Jones said that he believed in using a multiplicity of techniques because there is no single motivational approach that works for all employees. He argued that while one employee could be motivated by monetary reward, others could prefer status symbols and other non-monetary reward. As such, he said that in furtherance of employee loyalty, he adopted both long-term and short-term approaches. Notably, the most prominent long term motivational approach adopted by the branch manager was to ensure a peaceful and serene working environment for the employees. With regard to the environment, he said, it does not only refer to the physical environment, but also the relationships among employees. For this reason, Jones advocated for a working environment that upheld informal relationships, as these promoted teamwork, and incorporated the concept of emotional intelligence into the workplace.
It has been a question of debate whether or not personality traits are or should be considered part of one’s leadership skills. While the debate has yet to reach a consensus, I found it relevant to pose the question to Mr. Jones. With regard to his personality values, I noted that respect was the core value. Since his leadership approach revolves around working with employees, he believes that respecting everyone around him is of the essence as this is the only potent way of soliciting cooperation and collaboration. In addition to respect, Mr. Jones believes in the value of fair dealing, one which he describes as being the core of ethics and morality in the practice of management. In furtherance of fair dealing, he said, he always upholds the doctrines of equal opportunity for all.
Worth of note is that the branch manager also has the value of accountability. According to him, being answerable for such deeds as the poor performance of employees is core. Being accountable, he said is one of the most essential pillars of leadership because, as opposed to management, leadership is about doing the right things, and not doing things right. In addition to accountability, Mr. Jones also has the value of flexibility. Flexibility, according to his beliefs, is the quality that allows him to be an efficient team player. Since team work is a primary factor in democratic leadership, Jones holds flexibility in high regard.
With regard to skills Mr. Jones said that the most important skill, according to him is the skill of critical thinking. This skill, according to Jones is the core of sober decision making. While democratic leadership relies on collective wisdom, it goes without saying that the leader must be a critical thinker because he practically guides the entire process. Secondly, communication skills are essential in democratic leadership because the leader must effectively pass the message and the nature of the scenario to the employees for collective decision-making. From the interview, I get to learn that indeed, Jones’ communication skills are beyond reproach, and so are his collaboration skills.