Recommendation for Regency Hotel
Thai traditional leadership model advocates for a paternalistic kind of leadership whereby the leaders and the employees come together and pool their abilities to achieve mutual organizational goals (Joiner, Bakalis & Rattanapitan 2009, pp. 1-5). Traditionalism refers to reverence for hierarchical order, for power, and the significance of the tuneful relationship. The traditional leadership style in Thailand has always acted as a compass for every ethnic group, economic class as well as religious background.
The paternalistic leadership model; traditionally used in Thailand, the greater Asian countries, and in some African countries, advocates for authority being vested in the leadership of the organization which makes all decisions that are to be followed by workers diligently. The workers wait for instructions from above and only do as instructed out of the leader’s ideas and not on their own ideas. Punishment is also meted on any worker who tries out new ideas not approved by the management.
Under this type of leadership, the local Thai manager was able to come up with a management mix that produced good results in the performance of the hotel and at the same time achieved high levels of employee satisfaction.
The entry of new owners into the hotel is seen to have upset the whole equilibrium in terms of management as the local Thai manager resigned immediately. This can be attributed to rigidity on the side of the local manager who could not see himself doing things in a different way or adopting a new and foreign way of doing things.
The local manager who resigned was immediately replaced by a foreign manager who had no experience in managing foreign establishments and who came from a different cultural background. Though Becker had been credited with the revival of new but failing acquisitions, he had no experience in taking over fledging establishments and more so in a foreign country. Therefore this was a totally new experience different from what he had excelled in back in America.
Use of a transitional program
Ideally, the new owners should have come up with a transitional program that would be used to manage change. In organizations, change is always associated with fear, and therefore managing change basically means fear management (Reh 2010, p. 2). With the resignation of the local manager, transitional structures should have been put in place to manage the change as it involved a drastic departure from the usual way of doing things. This transition should have seen one of the local assistant managers take over from the departed manager. The promoted assistant manager would have overseen the gradual introduction of changes with Becker as his deputy until they are fully integrated into the system and accepted by the employees of the hotel.
In the case of Becker’s entry into the general manager’s position, he immediately introduced changes to the way issues were being sorted out by using his experience as a manager. He believed in empowerment as a way to motivate employees against the paternalistic mode that the employees were used to. The paternalistic model gave staff at all levels a sense of seniority. With the introduction of empowerment, all employees’ sense of seniority was eroded thus eroding the sense of pride. The introduction of new rules without consulting or involving other staff ignored the basic tenets of change that require the setting of the stage before the real change can be introduced (Goman 2000, p. 506). Generally, employee empowerment as a strategy ought to be gradually introduced within an organization. This is to give employees time to adjust and shift from their initial way of doing things. A good example where employee empowerment helped in improving organizational performance is in General Electricals. By the company empowering its employees, they came to realize the vital contribution they made to the success of the entire organization. Eventually, these employees ended up forming teamwork that helped the company rise to its current status.
Close supervision and employee training
Studies show that Thai employees prefer close supervision rather than general supervision (Deyo 1978, pp. 68-72). Therefore with the introduction of empowerment, most of them became confused as their superiors were instructed to coach them and assist them instead of giving direct orders. This effectively led to a total breakdown of operations as the superiors were also confused about what assisting and coaching meant. An ideal situation would have seen the training of senior managers taking place to induct them into the new way of doing things and thus eliminate any chances of confusion taking place.
This training should have involved the definition of all tasks as well as the scope of authority to be invested in a given supervisor, and the new changes should have been introduced gradually. Generally, Becker should have consulted with the other senior staff on the way to implement the new methods of doing things to achieve the best mix between old and new systems as well as the traditional values held high by the local Thai staff. Such a move can only be brought about by an enhanced communication system within the organization that allows for constant consultation between the different parties. This would eliminate the frustration that the senior managers were experiencing wherever they received queries from junior staff. It would also give the employees a grace period to learn the new system and make mistakes. In this way; they would not feel the frustration in trying to be perfect without having the necessary knowledge of the way a system works.
Working without fear will boost the morale of the worker thus uplifting their job satisfaction which will, in turn, eliminate any frustrations that may be driving the employees crazy. Becker should also find solutions to problems or queries from junior staff that come to consult him instead of running away from the same. By facing the problems as they come, he will be leading by example which is a huge requirement for a paternalistic kind of leadership that Thai people prefer. This fear can only be eliminated through training and development. According to Noe and Winkler (2009), employee training and development facilitates equipping them with the necessary skills. As a result, employees are able to deal with all organizational changes with a lot of confidence.
Therefore Becker should employ a mix of both the transactional type of leadership and situational type of leadership which will allow him to adopt his preferred style of leadership as well as the preferred Thai way of doing things so as to come up with a perfect mix (center for leadership studies 2010).
Employee Motivation and emotional intelligence
Emotional intelligence and employee motivation are other vital tools for improving the performance of Regency Hotel. Through emotional intelligence, the hotel management would be able to identify the different emotional responses of varied staff thus being able to identify the best ways of motivating them. Employee motivation would act as reinforcement to the established empowerment thus making employees commit themselves to the hotel’s business. Generally, employees are reluctant to change implementation due to fear of losing their jobs or being overloaded (Reh 2010, p. 3). As a result, the hotel’s management ought to use emotional intelligence to identify the underlying fears in the employees thus taking strategies to reassure the employees that the changes are geared towards improving the hotel’s performance as well as their working conditions.
To motivate employees, the management ought to involve them in making decisions affecting the organization rather than turning down their opinions without explaining to them the reasons. The management needs to come up with a strategy where employees would be rewarded based on their performance. This would make them feel to be appreciated in the hotel thus committing themselves to the organizational goals. Enhancing communication between the supervisors and the employees would help the employees understand their duties thus gaining skills and improving the hotel’s efficiency.
Center for leadership studies, 2010. Choosing the right leadership style for the right people. Web.
Deyo, F. C., 1978. The cultural patterning of organizational development: a comparative case study of Thailand and Chinese industrial enterprises. Human organization, 37, pp. 68-72.
Goman, K. C., 2000. The biggest mistakes in managing change. Innovative leader, 9(12), p. 506.
Joiner, T. A., Bakalis, S. & Rattanapitan, G., 2009. Traditional leadership in Thailand: the role of applying abilities for mutual benefit. Journal of International Business and Economics, 6(3), pp. 67-83.
Noe, R. A. & Winkler, C., 2009. Employee training and development: For Australia and New Zealand. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Reh, J. F., 2010. Managing change: managing peoples fear. Web.