Review Of An Organisational Event Nursing Essay

I have always tried to expand my knowledge and experience, and seek new opportunities to develop both professionally and personally. Following my graduation with a BSc degree in Chemical and Petrochemical Engineering I started work in the manufacturing field, most recently at a global Carpet-Backing, Artificial Grass and Geo-Textile manufacturer. This company started the production of polypropylene slit film woven fabrics back in 1996. Now they have two manufacturing sites with a total production area of more than 191,000 square meters, with warehouses and representative offices in Australia, New Zealand, Europe, the Middle East, China, Africa, and the U.S.

Whilst I joined the company as a Process Engineer and Production Supervisor in the Extrusion Department (Production Department), I was lucky that I had the chance to work with a multinational team so I could gain a wealth of experience in managing production, quality, processes, safety and cost control for a large production unit. I worked very hard and struggled to develop myself in the hope to climb the professional ‘ladder’, as well as to support my colleagues and achieve the company goals. I am proud to say that I was the first native local in the Technical Dept. who was promoted to a senior level as a Department Manager.

However, during this time I had the responsibility to personally implement many assignments such as installation and commission of new machines, designing and improving processes and work procedures in support of a continuous improvement program. Whilst I gained a lot of confidence as far as the technical background is concerned, I realised that this was not enough and some of the difficulties I encountered were not due to knowledge and skills in technical aspects but in management and leadership. I found that I desperately needed to combine my engineering skills with valid and effective management and leadership skills to effectively implement the new machines and processes required by the company as part of their improvement program. I needed skills in change management specifically and these I severely lacked at that time. I truly understood the statement of Burns (1978: 2) that "leadership is one of the most observed and least understood phenomena on earth".

To achieve my company’s and my personal career goals I immersed myself in learning much more about current developments and techniques in management, international markets and market applications and used them to assist me in my process of acquiring hands-on experience of management. Whilst my acceptance on the Master’s degree course was to provide me with theoretical understanding and depth of idea for practical approaches in aiding managerial decision-making and hence research skills which will enable me to develop an expertise in the core areas of management strategies and global operations, at the time I was trying to manage without all of this information. It was a very fast, hands-on, learning process.

Fortunately I am instilled with effective communication skills and critical thinking, thus I saw this not as a problem, but as an opportunity to ‘jump-start’ my skills and provide me with benefits of more influence in my organisation, greater job responsibility, higher salary and rapid career advancement. I relished the chance to flex my new ‘managerial’ and ‘leadership’ muscles. Sullivan and Hodson (2011) look at this in terms of reward or satisfaction that I could agree with.

In order to make sense of managerial situations with regards to leading the successful implementation of the change program, I initially tried to consider those of who I was in charge. I wanted to empathise with them, consider their thoughts about the changes, how they were affected, the positives and negatives, and, as I thought most importantly, to understand how they felt. I thought this would be easy but I was so wrong, mostly because taking this stance forced me to consider how these staff may feel about me, as their manager, trying to lead them through this change program positively, quickly and efficiently. With hindsight I can now see that I was totally unprepared for this more personal aspect of management and leadership as confirmed by Grint (1995: 3) who said that it is ‘a mysterious thing in so far as the more research that is undertaken the less we seem to be able to understand".

In order to apply the theories covered in the management/leadership programme to this real leadership of change I have attempted to reveal my analytical insights and managerial judgement, using the literature and drawing upon this experience, to critically reflect on how to make sense of the situation, alternative leadership approaches and the nature of organisational change, to suggest how I may have been more effective.

For the purpose of this exercise my key responsibilities at the time were to identify and manage necessary resources, such as manpower, machines, materials for effective production in high consideration of quality, efficiency and cost-control according to budget. I was also continuously responsible for leading attainment of the company vision and mission, policies, procedures, goals, as well as company values such as teamwork spirit and other company programs, including its continuous implementation and unremitting improvement.

There are statements here of ‘lead’ and ‘manage’ but I am not convinced now that at the time I understood the definitions of the two and their practical applications in the workplace, specifically through a program of change. Whilst I can see that ‘the essential leadership function was to help the organisation to adapt to its environment and acquire resources needed to survive’ (Schruijer and Vansina, 1999) it was difficult to slice my roles up into bits that were leadership and bits that were management.

Grint (2005) identified 4 types of leadership: as a person, as a process, as a result and as a position. From the responsibilities noted above I can see that a lot of them fall into more than one or even all types, depending on who I was ‘dealing’ with. For example:

Develop, improve, and maintain process control in coordination with other functions for continuous improvements.

This means leadership as a person in striving for professional improvement in my responsibilities, leadership as a position in clearly defining the common goal to the teams, setting them up and convincing them to aim for achievement, leadership as a process in identifying areas for improvement and as leadership for a result in making these resolutions realised.

Then, after all the leadership, where was the management. If the phrase ‘we manage things, but we lead people’ by Adair (2009) was to be believed then I was both managing and leading at the same time, with the leadership here being more tangible and the management being the ‘whole’, as in the success of the aim being reached.

Now I can languish in the reflection I had upon one of the experiences from this course in relation to this work based conundrum, that of how we all see things differently and use different thinking styles (Kirkpatrick 1998 in Reeves and Hedberg 2003). As a student I could see that sometimes I am preoccupied just by what I am doing, but in the ‘tower’ exercise everyone had to work together, they could not do their own thing, they had to share information and try to help each other as the tower began to take shape. This was true in the change program. I was trying to manage my part of the change process, I was trying to lead my staff to a common goal, to instill drive and positivity, however I was also part of this process as a person, and I had to examine the activity of collectively putting ideas or opinions together to solve problems with limited resources that ultimately ‘gelled’ everyone together as a team.

In fact, the change program as a whole was a challenging time in my career, and can be examined in hindsight much like another exercise from this course, that of turning strategic intent into tactical reality, where people needed to grasp the overall vision, and then be able to translate this into action. This should result in the right people doing the right things, at the right time, in the right place, and in the right sequence. I noted in my Process Learning Log that listening was possibly an often neglected communication skill. I needed to have good listening skills in order to lead and manage effectively, since the consideration of other individuals and their point of view, particularly through a program of change, could have helped in the achievement of success as a whole. This is supported by Cameron and Green (2004) in that after establishing the need for change, you lead by illuminating the problem area through discussion, influencing, understanding, researching, presenting, which involves delivery as well as listening. Whereas listening in managing is in relation to emotions, maintaining integrity, being courageous, being patient, etc. It is often argued that ‘leadership is probably best conceived as a group quality, as a set of functions which must be carried out by the group’ (Gibb, 1954, cited in Gronn 2000: 324).

It seems very clear to me that you cannot have management without leadership, nor vice versa, however the behaviours associated with the effectiveness of each differ (Charan et al. 2001). It also makes me realise the task organisations undertake, and how in constructing leadership concepts and developing people to rise to leadership challenges must be effective to ensure success as a whole. James and Collins (2008) see this as taking 'knowledge into action', which is the key challenge for me in learning and developing management and leadership skills and putting them into practice. Yet without a clear definition or understanding of what they are, and what is required and when, from me as a manager or a leader, which can depend on the situation in terms of which ‘hat’ I need to wear, then I cannot expect to be fully successful or totally effective in the task to hand (Wood and Ladkin 2008).

Also, unlike the activities in the course, in the ‘real world’ they may last months or perhaps years, so my vision also has to be assessed and my position constantly reinforced and defended. DeBrun (2008) states this is the identification that management involves getting things done through other people, where leadership places more emphasis on helping others do the things they know need to be done to achieve the common vision. So I conclude that the overall issue is vision, in which management and leadership exist together in harmony. (1747 words)