Leaders are responsible for the growth and development of the team members and organisation as well. They hold the main key to rise the level and success of the innovation in companies. Innovation does not happen daily and it is not possible to innovate and create new ideas without active commitment and involvement of the leaders and their team members. The proposed essay is based on Marks & Spencer (M&S). It focuses on the contribution of the leaders for increasing the level of the innovations. This file includes background information with the applications of the leadership and teamwork in innovations. In the end, the conclusion is explained with the key findings.
According to the Chuang, Jason and Morgan, 2011, “Innovation leadership helps leaders in influencing their team members to develop creative ideas, products or services. With the change in time and technologies, it is need of companies to think and work innovative” (Chuang, Jason and Morgan, 2011). Similarly, Collinson and Cook, 2013, have stated that “Firms can achieve their requirement of innovations by focusing on their leaders for shaping the nature and success of the creative and innovative efforts. Without appropriate innovations and creations an organisation is considered in a struggling period” (Collinson and Cook, 2013).
As per the view of Termeer and Nooteboom, 2012, “Innovation refers as a kind of change in the organisations which affect the creation and delivery of its products and services. Along with this, it also results to make changes on the organisational structure, policies and methods” (Termeer and Nooteboom, 2012). On the other hand Lee, Hwang and Choi, 2012, have explained that “There are two types of innovations which includes incremental and radical innovations. Small changes are involved in the incremental innovations which lead to develop products with the help of existing knowledge and capabilities whereas radical innovations are fundamental changes which results to use new techniques, ideas, etc for creating new products or services” (Lee, Hwang and Choi, 2012).
With respect to the value-added innovations Edelman and et.al., 2011, have said that “Value added or incremental innovations needed transactional leadership as it does not use any type of open leadership behaviour which includes motivating workers for doing experiments, taking risks, etc” (Edelman and et.al., 2011.). Companies like General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co., etc uses this style for value-added innovations. These firms make improvements in the current and existing vehicles or cares for making them more comfortable, attractive and faster. In contrast to it Fullan, 2011, has argued that “Sometimes organisations use value added innovations for new ideas, thinking and taking risks. In such condition, leaders need to change their leadership style and encouraging their team members to think out of the box” (Fullan, 2011). For example, Aspirin used this style for introducing its existing product into the new and different market by expanding its uses and benefits.
In contrast to the above innovation type Hong-sheng, 2012, has explained that “Exploratory or radical innovations are for creative new ideas, strategies and solutions for achieving the organisational goals in more effective manner. The base of this innovation style is proper search, analysis, discovery, experiments and risks” (Hong-sheng, 2012). With respect to the leadership style Kastelle, 2011, has declared that “Leadership style possessed by the leaders for exploratory innovations is a transformational style which motivates team members to achieve the outcomes with creativity and innovations” (Kastelle, 2011). With reference to this statement M&S, uses this style for working together in a creative and innovative way which results to give 150 new business ideas for the production of the products or services.
Sergeevna, 2014, has asserted that “There are four steps of a normal innovation process which includes scanning of the environment for determining the opportunities, selection of those options which are most likely to develop a competitive edge, resourcing of the options and implementation of the innovation” (Sergeevna, 2014.). With respect to the first step Dearing, 2015, has stated that “Large organisations generally ignore the first step of the innovation process. They like to spend more time on their resources for creating existing products as per the existing technology and customer needs” (Dearing, 2015).
In contrast to it Willis and Mastrofski, 2011, have said that “Those companies which uses incremental innovation, find themselves at a dead end during the market changes with customer needs and expectations” (Willis and Mastrofski, 2011). In favour to these statements, innovation process helps leaders of M&S to achieve their objectives effectively for developing new goods, services, processes or methods for their company. It is essential to follow the whole process effectively with proper analysis and evaluation then it leads to give expected outcomes regarding innovations and creativity.
Role of leaders in innovation
According to the Hammond and et.al., 2011, “Most of the innovation activities are takes place in among the team members under the guidance and monitoring of the leaders. There lies a strong relationship between the innovations and leadership which results to achieve the objectives of the enterprise in effective and efficient manner. ” (Hammond and et.al., 2011). In favour to this Wang and et.al., 2011, have concluded that “Leaders are capable enough to provide essential and necessary facilities which allow flourishing the innovations and creativity within the working environment” (Wang and et.al., 2011). On the other hand Vaccaro and et.al., 2012, have demonstrated that “Two roles are played by the leaders for managing the innovations among the team members and individuals. The first role is to create favourable environment and various opportunities for creating innovations and second is to embody the company's desire to be innovative and creative” (Vaccaro and et.al., 2012). With respect to this statement, leaders can develop and support a positive team climate which results to solve the problems and manage the diverse teams.
In contrast to above Rosenblum and Louis, 2013, have declared that “Leaders can enhance the intrinsic motivation of the workers and can establish a high quality work with their cooperation and coordination. In this, leaders uses bottom up approach which make team members to develop innovative ideas and views” (Rosenblum and Louis, 2013). In favour of this, leaders needs to allocate and utilise the resources which includes time, money, skills, knowledge, facilities, etc properly and effectively. Along with this, they should set individual and team goals and coordinate them for getting innovative outcomes. Along with these statements West, 2012, has asserted that “Leader supports their team and other individuals for turning their creative ideas and efforts into the innovation and also manages objectives and goals of the firm by using innovations and creativity ” (West, 2012.).
According to the Yukl, 2012, “Innovative leaders possess some qualities which involves modest intelligence, well informed, original thinkers, encourage team members to think innovative and creative, motivates them to take risk and to find appropriate solutions, etc. All these qualities help the employees in developing their skills and knowledge such as problem-solving, decision making, risk taking, innovative thinking skills, etc. This results to enhance the career and growth opportunities for the workers” (Yukl, 2012.). With respect to this statement, innovations need particular kind of leaders and team members who should be passionate explorers in search of endless possibilities. These workers are courageous enough to take risks and challenges for getting some new ideas under the guidance of a leader. For example, Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX and Tesla Motors is one of the innovative leader who reinvent the aerospace and automotive companies with the help of innovations and creativity.
Along with this Xue, Bradley and Liang, 2011, has stated that “Innovation is only possible when an organisation have an innovative and creative leader with a tea, who has pulse on the marketplace. Some companies only waste their time for understanding and knowing the innovations taking place in the market whereas some firms take required and appropriate actions by investing on employees and resources for bringing innovative ideas” (Xue, Bradley and Liang, 2011). In favour of this statement, the best and innovative leaders of the M&S know that innovations are only possible due to the internal and external sources. They merge different ideas, perceptions, opinion and experiences of the team members for creating new kind of innovation which are not used by anybody else before.
According to the Chuang, Jason and Morgan, 2011, “With the change in time and technology, innovations and creativity is also rising. Companies are increasing their level of innovations for getting competitive advantages and leading market positions. Leaders play essential role in enhancing the level of innovations by encouraging their team members” (Chuang, Jason and Morgan, 2011). On the other hand Collinson and Cook, 2013, have said that “Leaders need to use leadership theorise, organisational, work group and supervisory encouragement, autonomy, proper resources, creative environment, etc results to enhance the level of innovations among the employees for achieving the organisational goals ” (Collinson and Cook, 2013). As per this statement, leaders of M&S can enhance the level of innovations by encouraging and motivating their team members time to time. Along with it, they need to provide various resources and facilities to the workers so that, they can give their best for thinking differently.
While forming the team of Marks & Spencer (M&S), leader needs to think over the following points for increasing the level of innovations in the organisation.
Team Composition: In M&S a team consists of two types of diversities which are job relevant diversity and background diversity. Job relevant diversity relates to the different skills, education, knowledge, competences, etc of the workers whereas background diversity relates to the different age, gender, beliefs, ethnicity, etc of the employees (Lee, Hwang and Choi, 2012). With respect to this, job relevant diversity effect positively on the innovations as it results to share the information on different subjects with different perceptions and background diversity impact negatively as it sometimes result to impede the communication which rises the risk of conflicts, grievances and misunderstandings. So leader of the organisation needs to take care all these points while composing his/her team so that they can contribute to each other in getting innovative results. An effective team composition can make leader to enhance the level of innovations in M&S. (Termeer and Nooteboom, 2012).
Team Size: Team size plays essential role in increasing the innovations at M&S. Large size team results to sharing of more information, views, perceptions, etc which helps them to work on difficult innovative tasks but there are some disadvantages also as large size of team results to create more conflicts, social loafing, free riding, etc. On the other hand, small size of the team leads to restrict the exchange of ideas and information but it reduces the chances of conflicts or misunderstandings. While forming team in the organisation, it is important for the leader to select team size as per the requirement and work. The proper decision of him/her can make workers to give their more efforts for the innovations (Kastelle, 2011).
Team Climate: Climate of the team in M&S is positive and cooperative which make team members to work effectively for achieving their targets. Various factors with respect to the team climate are connected with the innovations. Environment of the team is formed by the psychologies of the team members so, leader changes the view and perception of them for developing positive atmosphere (Seelos and Mair, 2012). In such case, employees cooperate, coordinate, discuss the information, communicate time to time for handling the risk and enjoy their work which results to improve and increase the level of innovations in the organisation. For example, M&S provides positive, open and friendly environment to its workers so that, they can give their best for new innovations. Along with this, there leaders are talented, skilled and intelligent who make their team members to think out of box (Dearing, 2015).
Team Communication: On the other hand, exchange of information also plays essential role in forming a positive and friendly environment of M&S. With the help of internal and external communication, leader enhances the interaction which results to develop new skills, abilities and knowledge among the workers and this helps them in thinking innovative (Edelman and et.al., 2011).
Task Orientation: Teams of M&S have high degree of task orientation which makes team members to think about the processes and strategies and it results to create new innovations with respect to the customer services and products. Leaders of the firm develop decision-making skills in the workers so that they can take appropriate decisions for enhancing the level of innovations. Along with this, leaders delegates proper work as per the skills and knowledge of the employees so that, they can effectively use their abilities and strengths for making the enterprise more popular among the customers (Yukl, 2012).
Vision: Leader should explain the purpose and importance of the company's goal effectively to the team members for getting proper contribution and active participation. Proper vision leads team members of M&S to give their best for resolving the issues and finishing their tasks efficiently. With the help of effective and good communication and task oriented guidance, leaders monitor their worker's work properly and helps them to work innovatively and creatively (Xue, Bradley and Liang, 2011).
Intrinsic Motivation: Motivation encourages employees to develop themselves for improving their work performance and enhancing their career opportunities. By using intrinsic motivation, leaders of the M&S enhances the performance of their team members by encouraging them to take risks and challenges. This results to rise the creativity and self efficiency of the workers which make them to think something new and innovative (Fullan, 2011).
Task Characteristics: It includes job complexity, work autonomy, creativity expectations and individual innovations. Project leaders of the organisation gives permission to their workers to use their discretion which results to increase the generation and implementation of ideas and strategies. Skills and creativity of the team members of the firm develops while handling challenges and hard tasks which is only possible due to intrinsic motivation. Leaders of M&S can give some complex work to the employees so that they can give their more attention to it, try some new alternatives and find innovative and creative results (Hong-sheng, 2012).
Leader of M&S should apply the following leadership theories for encouraging his/her team members to work effectively with innovations.
Path-Goal Theory: This theory is based on the use of different leadership styles for increasing the level of innovations. Use of different leadership behaviours by a single leader results to develop creations in the working environment with innovative thinking. For generating new ideas, processes and strategies, this theory helps the leader to monitor their employees and to behave as per the situation and requirement of the work. The influence of behaviour of leader make team leaders to think creative, generate novel and to implement their ideas (Rosenblum and Louis, 2013).
Leader Member exchange theory (LMX Theory): This theory makes leader to use unique leadership style for each team worker. It impacts positively on the innovations and creativity of the employees of organisation. This will lead leader of M&S to predict the significant organisational and attitudinal variables which includes higher job satisfaction with performance. In this, high quality exchange i.e. contribution of both leader and team members results to enhance the level of innovations by generating new ideas. In this, low quality LMX is related to the formal and impersonal relations between the leader and their team member whereas high quality LMX refers to the mutual trust, respect, influence and motivation (Wang and et.al., 2011).
By the use of both the theories, leaders of M&S can motivate and encourage his/her employees to think differently and uniquely for making their work more effective and appreciable.
Ways for influencing Team members:
Leader of the company needs to influence his/her team members time to time so that they can give their best for generating new and different ideas.
Creative Problem Solving: Innovative work are always new for the employees which results to create complexity in understanding them. Leader of the firm needs to be a problem solver so that he/she can guide appropriately to their team members (Amabile and Khaire, 2008). Leaders can assist their employees in structuring the problem, determining the goals, strategies, processes and collection of suitable data for understanding that problem. Complex tasks make team members to spend more time with the problems which results to generate some new and different ideas. By using domain related knowledge, leaders can guide their employees of the organisation so that they can reach to a particular goal or result (Sergeevna, 2014).
Support: It is one of the essential feature required by the team members for getting success in their work. Leaders promote the innovative work of their employees by recognising their team work, supporting them emotionally, involving them into the decision making process and monitoring their work with honesty and fairness. Less support of leaders result to ineffective work, failure in achieving objectives and resolving the problems (Hammond and et.al., 2011).
Intellectual Development: By proper monitoring, leaders of M&S can guide their team members for selecting appropriate techniques and ideas for achieving the objectives and solving the problems. Under the proper guidance, they can develop decision making, problem solving, risk taking, communication, team management, time management, etc skills of the employees. This development results to enhance the career opportunities and rise the job satisfaction level of the workers. Contribution of knowledge and ideas also help in development of the team members (West, 2012).
Behaviour of the Leader: Sharing of ideas, time to time interaction with the team members, formal and informal meetings, recognition and rewards for good work, feedbacks, etc helps leader to make good relationship with their employees (Llopis, 2014). By allowing workers to do their work with full independence and providing help whenever needed results to develop innovative ideas. Behaviour of the leader should be positive, friendly and open so that, team members can easily share their problems with them. It also results to develop trust, loyalty and honesty for the M&S which makes the bond more strong and encourage workers to give their best for accomplishing the company's objectives in different manner (Yukl, 2012).
By using all the above features, leader can influence his/her team members to think differently. These features will also help leader in enhancing the level of innovations. Proper guidance and monitoring of the leaders can lead to develop creative skills among the workers which will help them in thinking out of the box and something new which is not used by anyone else before.
From the above study, it is concluded that innovations are a form of change and it is important for the M&S to implement this change for getting brand recognition and leading market position. Leaders play essential role in making team members of the organisation to think differently, generate new ideas and implement them for getting innovative results. By following the factors regarding the team formation, leaders can encourage their workers to think out of the box. On the other hand, leaders need to influence their team members for making them to work innovatively and creatively.
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