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Evaluating the 21st century leadership in Filippo Restaurant

1.0. Introduction

Leadership is not anything new to man nor in the past nor to this generation. The need for leaders and the impact that leaders can have remains the same throughout all ages. However, there is a considerable difference in the 21st-century leadership style and the past leadership style. Though the basic and the impact of leadership is the same today as it was in the past. However, there is a big difference in the way it is implemented, accepted, and taught in the 21st century. The business market has changed drastically; companies are stretching their operations beyond national boundaries and entering into foreign markets (Lenway and Eden, 2001). There has been a massive increase in people travelling to different countries for various reasons. The outcome of this has resulted in a highly mixed culture around the world. Every country has their lifestyle, language, dressing sense, food habits and other things, and so on. They bring all this along with them to the foreign country, resulting in a vast cultural change.

The other factor that is being affected is the business environment; with competition rising and consumer demand, increasing companies are forced to be innovative to survive in the market. In this study, we will focus on a small family-run restaurant called Filippo on the outskirts of Phoole. This restaurant has enjoyed a good market share in its operating locality. Still, things have been changing fast, even in the suburbs, with people pouring into these areas as well, especially international students and people seeking jobs, find the suburbs an excellent haven to reside in, due to its low cost of living.

This change has promptly changed the market scenario in the suburbs, and a constant threat of new entrants suddenly became a reality. Filippo sensing this threat decided to make changes in his restaurant and began to expand and innovate. He appointed seven more waiters, three cooks, four captains and increased the volume of cooking, but Filippo failed to grab any of the new customers from the locality, except for a few now and then.

2.0. Filippo Restaurant

The restaurant is well known for its delicious food, pleasant atmosphere, soothing music and a friendly employee base. The employees of the restaurant are mostly family members led by Filippo after whom the restaurant is named. The employees of Filippo are said to be very hospitable and very eager to please their customers, which makes the customers very comfortable. The restaurant has five cooks, out of which 3 are family members while the other two are close associates of the owner. There are eight waiters, four captains and one janitor that makes up the full staff of Filippo (www.filippos.co.uk).

3.0. Leadership Styles, Trait theories & Behavioural Theories

Stogdill (1974) points out that various definitions of leadership styles have been drawn from the varying definitions of leadership, he suggests that leadership style is an ability or a method with a goal to achieve targets set by companies and to manage the other activities in a company as well. Fieldler (1967) argues that leadership is a relationship developed by a leader to influence another or a team, to act according to his rights, in order to develop a working together environment to achieve the set goals.

Shead (2007) suggests that leadership traits are inborn, they are characteristics that people are born with, and identifying these traits can help a person to recognise a genuine leader. As per the Trait Leadership Theory (2010), leadership styles are concerned with traits that are inborn within a leader's personality. There are around 20 characteristics identified by "The Leadership Challenge" that they associate with a genuine leader. Among these 20 traits, the top 5 traits are honesty, intelligence, visionary, inspiration and competence. They suggest that these traits are inborn in a good leader and a good leader has the perfect balance of these traits that help him or her in influencing and leading people towards achieving the aimed goal.

Leadership behavioural theory had begun to spread between the 1950s- 1960s, behavioural leadership theory is in contrast to trait theory as behavioural leadership theory believes that leadership is not inborn, but can be trained and influenced by. Behavioural leadership theory is a huge leap away from trait theory since behavioural theory believes that leadership skills can be taught and are not inborn (Behavioural Theory, 2010).

3.1. English Leadership style at Filippo

There are various leadership styles such as Autocratic, Democratic, Laissez-Fairee leadership, transformational leadership, transactional, situational, emotional and more (Bass & Bass, 2008). The leadership style at Filippo was largely autocratic and emotional, with all the decisions resting in the hands of Mr Filippo. There was no room given for the other family members to take any decisions. Hence, creativity and innovation were seldom seen at Filippo Restaurant. Filippo (The owner) was quick in taking note of the needs of his employees and his customers as well; this helped him in providing satisfactory services to his customers and employees likewise.

3.2. Leadership Traits

Filippo is a hardworking, honest and a dedicated leader; these were his leadership traits as a leader; he was generous and kind as well and had a high amount of emotional leadership quality in him, which helped him understand the needs of his employees. These characteristics had encouraged the utter devotion of his family members and other staff members in serving him and his restaurant. Filippo shows signs of believing in trait leadership theory. He shows no trust in training and development, apart from professional skills, he confides only in certain elders of the family believing them to be born with certain intellect the others are excluded from the decision making part.

3.3. Impacts of the Leader

3.3.1 Hard work:

the hard work put in by the leader encouraged the other staff members to follow his lead. The staff tends to go out of their way to satisfy their customers, and they display a high amount of dedication and honesty in their work.

3.3.2. Loyalty: 

the leader is extremely loyal towards his staff and makes sure that none suffers injustice under his leadership. If any staff member is found guilty punishment is certain to follow, whether it is a family member or not.

3.3.3. Emotion: 

the leader is very sensitive to the feelings of others and is very quick in supporting any staff member who is under pressure. He is quick in offering leave to members who are facing stress and are finding it hard to cope with the pressure. This develops a very happy and stress-free environment to work in.

3.3.4. Cultural: 

The leader is keen that respect should be shown to every employee, whether from the family or not. Sensitive issues are not to be raised no discrimination, no racism. Any offenders would be penalised.

3.3.5. Total Control: 

the leader being an autocratic leader, exercises total control over the staff and business. Every individual has to report to one head. This style does not allow any exploitation of power by the other related staff members; neither can any staff member put another under any stressful situations, as everything has to be reported to the leader.

4.0.The Drawbacks

4.1. Innovations: 

The major drawback at Filippo's was the lack of innovation. The change was well managed, and good and experienced people were recruited, each was allotted their own responsibilities, and everything was neatly organised, but yet Filippo failed to make any impact, it couldn't attract any of the new residents to its restaurant. Shchumann and Preswood (2002) argue that in today's market, innovation is most critical, which was a huge lack at Filippo's.

4.2. Creativity: 

there was a sheer absence of creativity in the operations at Filippo; the issues that had arisen due to the innovations have continued without any effort taken to tackle them. Issues like delayed orders, wrong order delivery, delayed billing, and so on. These issues have been ignored even though they noticed. The lack of creativity in handling issues, such as these, had become a big drawback in its operations.

4.3. Lack of professional training: 

there was no training given to the employees; once they were recruited, they had to operate on their past experience and their natural ability to achieve set goals and objectives. Training and development were totally absent.

4.4. Communication: 

Communication was slow; even after the staff members increased, the communication method remained the same. As long as it was a smaller organisation this sort of communication was operating rather fine, but after the increase in staff members, the same method of communication made things much slower, and important information got to the other end at a very slow pace. The speed in service dropped, customers had to wait for longer periods, wrong orders were delivered to the customers, and many other issues surfaced because of the communication gap. Moriarty and Duncan (1998) point out that communication is the key to collaborating all activities undertaken by humans, linking people and relationships together.

4.5. Cultural: 

the leaders of Filippo lacked the ability to manage a diverse staff; their staff from India and China had often seen alone when there were few customers; they were not ill-treated, but were not welcomed in their family as well. There is a huge lack of team building in the workforce, which was clearly visible in its services. There are many unintentional comments made by other staff members that could easily hurt the sentiments of the employees from other cultures. This is purely a lack of knowledge, which needs to be taken care of.

5.0. Recommendations

5.1. Innovations:

As a leader in Filippo, I would have made sure that I do not avoid or neglect innovations. Innovation is a sailing boat in our present market, with competition threatening to wipe out the existence of a business, it becomes vital to innovate. Powers and Hage (1992) suggest that in our global age today, businesses have realised how vital it is to follow an innovative approach as a business strategy. The one big innovation that is ideal for Filippo to take advantage of is to include home delivery in their service list. With the increase in foreign students and new employees, it would be ideal for drawing these customers to the restaurant. With its excellent delicacies and most satisfactory employee service, Filippo stands an excellent chance of grabbing the loyalty of these customers before the market gets saturated.

5. 2. Cultural:

Elron (1997) points out that a multicultural workforce produces new ideas and perspectives within the workforce. A multicultural workforce can work as a learning and development process for the other staff members working together. This is wide because of the different ways of thinking, different perspectives, varying lifestyles that make the workforce increase in creativity and quality. Hence, above all, as a leader, I would have encouraged the team to associate more closely with employees from different cultural backgrounds, so that knowledge could spread throughout the workforce. Moreover, a happy and content workforce is able to perform much more effectively than an unhappy and unsatisfied worker.

Further, the food at Filippo is excellent; this means that the cooks are capable of delivering superior food quality. However, the food menu was seldom changed; there were no new products added to the list for a long time. Having a cross-cultural employee base, as a leader; I would have encouraged my employees to add as many delicacies from their cultures to the menu, which would widen the range of products. Thus, increasing customer curiosity and attracting them. There are plenty of international students residing in the area now, like, Indians, Chinese, and Pakistanis and others. Including some of their foods to the menu would draw their attention and a desire to visit the restaurant. Further, encouraging the workers to build a healthy relationship with customers from their cultural background, would not be difficult, and it would also work wonders towards customer loyalty and employee satisfaction as well.

6.0. Other methods of leading

6.1. Communication: 

Kotter (1996) points out that communication has been crucial to business and will always be crucial. He further suggests that communication need never stop and a business should begin with communication and end with communication. The employee should be well aware of the reasons behind new innovations in order for them to participate wholeheartedly. Communication will help avoid delay, put an end to wrong order delivery and facilitate smooth operation throughout.

6.2. Technical Communication: 

I would make sure that technical communication would be applied to the business. Email WhatsApp, phone, website, social networking sites would be applied. This would help the restaurant actively reach the surrounding students and newcomers and further it would be instrumental in promoting home delivery as well. Desanctis and Fulk (1995) point out that technical communication conveys information faster and cheaper, anywhere and anytime. This sort of communication is critical in the 21st-century market environment.

Meetings: whether a firm is small or big, the meeting is the place where decisions are taken, the meeting is the place where employees are further motivated. It is here that everything that happens during working hours is made open. Hence, meetings would be encouraged every week in order to keep the operations intact.

6.3.Acknowledgement: 

Acknowledgement can work wonders on an employee's performance, to hear that a job has been done excellently will help in lifting the person's spirit, which will play a direct role on his or her performance. Filippo being mostly a family-based business organisation, fails to acknowledge the efforts made by the family members. Acknowledgement can not only lift the spirit of the person concerned but can even prompt other employees to be motivated to do better. This is human nature and would apply in every scenario; hence, an acknowledgement will be encouraged as well.

7.0. Conclusion

Leadership is capable of changing the course of a decision; it is capable of saving a firm from losses and more importantly from liquidation and at the same time leadership is capable of making a firm gain success and reach untold heights. The environment that businesses operate in today is highly competitive and hence surviving becomes a very challenging issue. The need for leaders to keep the firm afloat is more urgent in today's market than ever before. Flippo a small family-run restaurant located in the suburbs of Phoole has been operating with ease and with a good reputation, but a sudden change in the area with students and other new employees choosing the place to reside in, because of its low price, has changed the way Filippo operates. The manager and owner of the company seeing the change in the society were aware of the threat of a new entrant, and in order to make his foundation stronger, he made changes to his business. He employed three more cooks (2 Indians), seven new waiters (3 Chinese, 1 Pakistani) and four more captains. 

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