Description of the Problem
Due to the pandemic, Company N faced unforeseen organizational change issues. Poor communication between top and middle management and employees made it hard to implement new restrictions like work-from-home hours and reduce workload and, accordingly, salaries. Many employees feel frustrated and worried about the future, and some also fear losing their jobs. Lack of communication is the company’s main problem, which must be addressed to effectively carry out the organizational changes. Many organizational change programs fail due to poor internal communication (Men et al., 2020). Therefore, employee commitment to change can be ensured by symmetrical internal communication (Men et al., 2020).
Analysis of the Problem through the Competencies of Effective Leadership
This problem of poor communication can be solved by combining transformational leadership and internal communication techniques. Scientists list such essential qualities of the transformational leader as trust, stimulation, charisma, and credibility, which help the leader more effectively implement change. Yue et al. (2019) mentions that “transformational leadership and transparent internal communication foster employee trust during organizational change” (p. 1). Williams et al. (2018) emphasizes that “transformational leadership significantly influences employee trust in leadership” (p. 513). Budur (2020) adds that transformational leaders are usually charismatic and stimulating. Islam et al. (2021) note that “charisma positively moderates the relationship between transformational leadership and organizational performance” (p. 95). Williams also adds that “credibility is an antecedent of transformational leadership” (p. 512).
Therefore, an effective transformational leader should have the mentioned competencies and use communication techniques to foster changes.
Transformational leaders perform specific functions that are an extension of their qualities and abilities. Overcoming poor communication may require an analysis of the leadership competencies and the definition of particular elements of effective internal communication critical for organizational change. The central messages during a change may include “explaining what changes mean, communicating the goals of change, its benefits, as well as alternatives and resources for employees” (Men et al., 2020). Miao et al. (2018) mentions that the transformational leader communicates messages about change. The leader should explain to employees their alternatives and sources to foster change (Men et al., 2020). The leader also has to show genuine care, sensitivity, compassion, and understanding to be perceived as authentic (Men et al., 2020).
Elements of Organizational Behavior theory that contribute positively and negatively to the problem
There are plenty of Organizational Behavior theories used by management to control the healthy functioning of the organization, including communication and relationships between employees, management, and the company. Bureaucracy Theory developed by Max Weber features “the concept of authority, structure, and inter-se relationship” (“What is organizational behavior,” 2021). It also describes three types of authority – legal (based on the legal position in a hierarchy), traditional (traditionally recognized power), and charismatic authority (special power or appeal). The transformational leaders can be perfect role models in the framework of this theory. However, they should be careful, since showing too much legal authority can impede communication.
Any ethical or legal considerations related to the problem
The lack of communication shown by the leaders of Company N is a problem that needs to be corrected. However, there are important ethical aspects of communication to consider when communicating with employees. In particular, these ethical aspects are related to the clarity of messages and appropriate language that is understandable to employees. For example, using slang, jargon, or regional dialect can create communication difficulties. Ethical communication should also exclude any manifestation of rudeness, tyranny, or discrimination, as this can have destructive and legal consequences (Eisenberg et al., 2019). Leaders should not excessively rely on technology since live interactions are more preferable.
The impact of communication on the issue
Good, honest communication will allow employees to foster changes effectively. Lack of communication can be associated with anxiety due to a lack of understanding of the organization’s goals and what alternatives, resources, and opportunities employees have at their disposal. Transformational leaders motivate followers to achieve better results by building their confidence and intellectually stimulating them (Eisenberg et al., 2019). Therefore, transformational leaders can be ideal as communicators to help the company implement organizational changes. During communication, leaders will go through three phases: in the first phase, they will address rumors and demonstrate the availability, and in the subsequent phases, leaders will offer symmetrical communication. Leader have to wait for employees’ emotional feedback to create the atmosphere of trust.
The leader’s level of EI
The leader of Company N has a reasonably high level of emotional intelligence. In particular, he usually listens carefully to employees’ opinions and is sensitive to the emotional atmosphere in the team. He also readily accommodates employees if they have emotional problems related to work or teamwork. The leader of Company N successfully moderates teamwork, has good cognitive abilities and Big Five personality traits. The leader is good at facing critical situations and never loses the sensibility.
How Leader’s level of EI contributes to the solution
Today, leaders’ EI is recognized by many scientists as a critical factor that affects the quality of communication between employees, the atmosphere in the team, and, as a result, the organizational climate and employee satisfaction (Maamari & Majdalani, 2017). Moreover, a high level of leader’s EI improves social relations among employees (Edelman & van Knippenberg, 2018). Therefore, the scholars recommend considering EI as an important factor in the selection for leadership positions. It is also recommended to include the development of EI in the development programs of the leadership. Remarkably, a high EI can in many ways be in tune with the style of transformational leadership, as transformational leaders rely heavily on quality emotional communication with followers.
Elements of conflict resolution
Although the organization’s employees do not show any conflict, the initially favorable situation was distorted by the changes and lack of communication. The poor communication caused high levels of frustration, fear, and anxiety among employees. Therefore, such a situation can be conditionally called a conflict situation or one that disposes of a conflict between the organization’s management and subordinates. There are several ways to resolve this conflict, including applying transformational leadership strategies and creating an atmosphere of trust and mutual understanding through effective and ethical communication.
Changes needed/change leadership recommendations
It is necessary to introduce several changes to change an unfavorable atmosphere to a favorable one. First, the leader must communicate with the subordinates and convey the main messages about the goals of change, the potential benefits of change, the alternatives and resources that the subordinates have to implement the change. It will allow employees to understand the need for change and see the plan of action and their role in the change, which will relieve fear and anxiety. Second, the leader should address rumors and then empower employees for emotional feedback to relieve emotional stress. Communication should be done in clear and straightforward language, taking into account the ethical requirements for communication.
Brief discussion about what I learned in the simulation
During the simulation, I learned the importance of effective leadership and communication in times of organizational change. Leadership and communication style are the most critical factors in successfully coordinating the work of subordinates and creating the prerequisites for their adequate response to changes. In particular, transformational leadership is the most appropriate style for motivating employees, as this style is based on trust, charisma, leader honesty, and knowledge sharing. Therefore, the simulation brought a deep understanding of the importance of effective communication and leadership.
What learning from simulation experience should be implemented in the selected organization and problem
To ensure effective communication, the leader should follow some simple communicational strategies to solve the problems in the selected organization. For instance, in the context of the poor communication during the organizational changes, the leader should focus on delivering a clear message about changes to the employees. Importantly, communication should be performed by transformational leaders. The leader should utilize an ethical approach and share a clear and honest statement about the goals and consequences of changes responsibly and authentically.
Recommendations for leading through innovation
Transformational leaders are leaders who lead through innovation, using the most comprehensible leadership theories to foster changes. Innovative leadership should be ethical, honest, authentic, and responsible. Visionary leaders should also have high levels of EI to feel the atmosphere and should respect the employees and their emotions regarding the changes. According to scientists, they usually have high levels of EI (Bednall et al., 2018). The leader should also use their EI to moderate employee relationships. In particular, you need to address the current rumors regarding the change and then let the employees share their emotional feedback.
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