The Impact of Leadership Training’s Type on Public Organizational Performance – A Case of Saudi Government Agencies
Leadership is among the primary factors that influence an organization’s performance. With the evolution of information technology in the modern days, employees do not have to tolerate the undesirable type of leadership, but they look for jobs elsewhere. To avoid the dissatisfaction of human resources that may result from bad leadership styles, companies have taken the initiative of enlightening the employees on good leadership. Over the years, the performance of institutions in the public sector has been affected by leadership styles, but the trend is changing due to the commitment of the government agencies to train their employees on leadership (Wart 225). Performance in the public sector is determined by the extent to which public organizations meet the set objectives. This requires a good understanding of human resource in terms of the factors that may motivate their performance towards the set goals.
The new type of leadership in the public sector demands adoption of leadership competencies that promote partnership among players in public administration rather than the traditional hierarchical structure. The training is important as it helps identify the leadership gaps that may affect organizational performance negatively (Thach 210). In the 20th century, most of the government agencies relied on leadership style where the government leaders were the sole decision makers (Bass 30). The type of leadership in the public sector is closely related to its performance (Palmer et al. 6). Leaders influence the productivity of the employees by motivating them to work towards achieving the company goals and objectives. Some of the countries that have embraced leadership development programs in the public sector include Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia is one of the wealthiest nations in the world, with a population of about 29 million individuals (Mellahi and Wbod 142). In response to the local and international changes in public organizations, the government has put in place measures to enhance competence in its operations. Most of the government organizations in the region are committed to developing leadership programs because they understand that the quality of leadership style adopted influences the organizational performance in the public sector. This paper discusses the significance of leadership training on performance of the public organizations in Saudi Arabia.
The type of leadership adopted by an institution determines its chances of success and, thus, it is important for leaders to adopt styles that suit their human resources. Human resources are a unique type of assets that a company has, and they influence its success or failure. Evolution of leadership over the years has changed its meaning, and the leaders need to be trained on the competencies required to realize organizational goals (Wart 227). Conducting leadership training is one way that organizations use to ensure competent leadership. Due to factors such as globalization, the modern economy is characterized by high rates of labor mobility. In Saudi Arabia, the population is comprised of immigrants who have relocated into the country mainly to look for job opportunities. The interaction between these people and the Saudi citizens has brought about a cultural exchange in the workforce.
The diversity of employees in the region does not only affect the private sector but also the public administration has to deal with employees from different cultures. This makes it necessary for the leaders in the region to be equipped with appropriate skills to handle the diverse workforce. Public organizations in the country provide essential services such as supply of clean water and affordable education. The services are central to meeting the social and economic welfare of the citizens thus it is important to ensure efficiency in the public sector. The type of leadership adopted is linked to organizational performance where poor leadership may affect the performance of employees. Implementing leadership development programs is important to ensure that public sector organizations are efficient in their services.
The study aims at meeting the following objectives
- To establish the relationship between leadership style and performance.
- To explore the benefits of leadership training in the public sector.
- To evaluate the effectiveness of leadership development programs.
- To explore the type of leadership training that can be adopted in the public sector.
- What is the relationship between leadership style and performance?
- What are the benefits of leadership training in the public sector?
- How effective are leadership development programs in managing public organizations?
- What type of leadership training that can be adopted in the public sector?
Linkages to Existing Literature
Unlike the past decades, the employees in the modern era prefer to set their goals and work best on flexible schedules. Leaders cannot expect high productivity from employees if they give them directions instead of getting more involved in the jobs. It is important for the leaders to encourage teamwork in the workplace, as the employees are more productive when working in teams. Teamwork gives employees a sense of belonging and direction; it is from the team that employees derive the energy to keep moving towards the set objectives. However, working with teams can prove difficult, especially if a person is unable to engage the team effectively. For leadership to be productive, an individual must be able to inspire and motivate the employees rather than dictating duties to them (Awad 483). For leaders to take charge of an effective team in the modern world, they must understand the dynamics of leadership. The number of the public and private entities in the modern world that are engaging their employees in leadership training is increasing daily. This is after the realization that through leadership training, individuals become more productive as they are able to interact with employees in a professional and open manner.
Leadership training equips employees with the skills they require to create effective coaching techniques. One of the factors that motivate employees is the ability to perform their duties effectively, which results from effective training. Coaching is the method used by leaders to help employees improve and develop the skills needed to perform a certain task. Coaching enables employees to achieve personal success and manage any challenges that may hinder their success. With the right coaching techniques, leaders have the potential to turn a poorly performing team to a highly productive one. Coaching requires the leaders to identify the specific skills that the employee should develop, thus it is important that there exists a good working relationship between the two parties (Thach 213). One of the requirements for managers in modern organizations is the ability to coach and develop skills because it is part of their work although it is rarely indicated in their duties. Coaching aims at increasing strengths and efficiencies of employees by broadening their thinking. It facilitates identification of needs that employees might need to realize their goals.
Coaching requires the leaders to develop a healthy working relationship with the employees to gain their trust. It entails more listening than talking on the leader’s part, but the employees cannot speak openly to persons they do not trust. Establishing a good relationship with the employees enables them to understand the expectations of the organization and the areas they need to work on to meet their personal goals (Shults 4). Coaching also requires the leaders to provide an assessment to the employees about their progress. It is from the assessments that employees understand their weaknesses and strengths. However, without the guidance of their leaders, the employees may not be able to gauge their progress. The main focus of assessing the employees is to identify the current gaps that hinder them from achieving the expected goals effectively (Thach 206). Coaches also challenge the thinking and assumptions of the employees by asking open-ended questions to encourage reasonable risk taking by employees. They must also be able to guide employees by supporting and encouraging them to carry on with their tasks despite the frustration they may encounter. Coaching is about achieving goals, but the employees may not be in a position to set realistic goals on their own. With good coaching techniques, leaders should help employees set goals that are realistic and achievable within a specific timeframe.
The second benefit that a person gets from leadership training is the ability to analyze problems and make decisions (Aguinis and Kraiger 453). Work-related problems in an organization are inevitable, thus, it is important for the leaders to be able to identify a problem, analyze it, and make the most suitable decisions. Dealing with employees from diverse social, economic, and cultural backgrounds presents organizational leaders with problems, such as employee conflict. Most organizations in the modern era have policies that encourage employees to embrace diversity and respect each other, but there are ethnocentric employees who may not observe this. The employees may try to hide their individual differences in the face of the leaders, but a good leader should be able to identify these differences. Employee conflict adversely affects organizational performance because team cohesion is reduced. Once the problem has been identified, it is important to analyze it, but this needs strong analytical skills. It is from the analysis that the leaders are able to come up with the most suitable solutions. The analysis also helps determine the problems that are relevant to the organization and those that should not be accorded attention. This helps in identifying the cause-effect impact of a problem thus determining the urgency of the solutions.
Communicating change to the employees is the third benefit that leaders gain from leadership training. The evolution of technology and globalization are some of the factors that influence change in the modern organizations. By human nature, most employees are afraid to embrace changes in their workplaces, as they fear they might threaten their job security. While most of the changes may lead to efficiency in an organization, adapting to the same may not be easy. The resistance of the employees to changes may lead to low productivity as their morale may be adversely affected. However, the same employees may adapt to changes well, and they may find their jobs even more enjoyable with the new changes. This can only happen if they fully understand the reasons for the change. Effective communication of change to the employees entails understanding the changes and reasons for the change to explain honestly to the employees the need to embrace change. Leaders should not make the mistake of believing that employees cannot handle change positively, but they should be honest. Employees are likely to respect and accept changes that are communicated to them in a clear and honest way.
Explaining the benefits of change to employees is one of the ways that may lead to a quick and more positive way of adapting to changes. It is important for the employees to understand that the changes are not only meant to benefit the company but also their welfare. The employees need to know the exact time when the changes will take place as a way of preparing themselves psychologically. At times, the changes may not favor employees, but leaders should state this fact and assure them of the way the company’s plan to have a smooth transition. Change is best communicated by all leaders in an organization ranging from the CEO to the junior managers, as it assures employees of its desired impact. Creating a two-way communication channel is always the best way to handle change in an organization. The management is able to explain the need for change, and they get the feedback from employees in an open manner, making it possible for amendments to be made if necessary before the actual implementation.
The fourth benefit that leadership training offers is the development of strong listening skills. The unique aspect of leadership is the ability to influence others towards achieving a particular goal. This does not entail giving directions rather it requires the leader to inspire employees to work by listening to their suggestions and taking action on any complaints. Effective listening skills enhance accuracy, understanding, and decision-making. At work, this saves a lot of time due to the clarity of instructions and reduced chances of error. Leadership training enables a person to listen without drawing quick conclusions leading to sound judgment. Finally, leadership training helps an individual to understand the importance of delegating duties to other employees. Delegation molds future leaders in an organization and makes them more self-sufficient. Ineffective delegation may frustrate the employees, as they may be unable to perform tasks. The frustration lowers employee productivity and may lead to lose of talent in the organization when such employees resign.
Types of Leadership Training that can be Applied in the Public Sector
Saudi Arabia is among the nations that have embraced the concept of leadership training in the public sector. In response to the technological advancements across the globe, the nation has defined means of managing the public sector, which is one of the most essential departments. Public organizations in the country provide a wide range of basic services including ensuring supply of clean water, electricity, and education. Some of the public institutions, such as the central bank play a crucial role in controlling inflation, which may have a negative impact on the country’s economy. Sound management of the public sector, thus, plays a crucial role in ensuring a balanced state of economic, social, and political welfare of the citizens (Wart 216). Due to globalization, most of the aspects of leadership in the public sector have changed, and the nation must respond to this positively, both locally and internationally. The changes cannot be handled by a traditional system of leadership, as they demand a more collaborative environment as opposed to the dictatorial system applied in the past. The need to change from the traditional system has influenced the use of leadership development programs in the country, such as leadership training. Organizations are developing the workforce so that they are able to obtain the bets from the human resource.
Each type of leadership style has a different outcome depending on the cultural background of the employees. Thought leadership is the first style that leadership training emphasizes. It entails giving employees ideas of doing things differently in an effort to help them envision possibilities from new dimensions. It is motivated by the fact that new ideas bring about change, which may influence organizational performance positively (Kavanagh and Ashkanasy 82). Thought leaders are the type of managers needed in the public sectors in the face of rapid changes taking place in the world. New ideas generated by these types of leaders may help discover new and more efficient ways of managing public resources. The issue of accountability is on the rise in the modern days, and the most efficient leaders are regarded as more accountable. Thought leaders can be able to enhance the performance of public sector by attracting followers to their new ideas. However, there are employees who may feel uncomfortable with the new ideas, especially if they require a change in the organization.
Leadership training also encourages managers to adopt inspirational leadership style (Bass 10). In this type of leadership, the individuals use their words to strengthen employee morale towards work, leading to high productivity. They express passion and commitment in meeting organizational goals by emphasizing on the existing ideals and ideas (Avolio 765). Their strong positive attitude helps win the trust of employees and make emotional connections. The employees feel that their leaders are concerned about them, thus, they feel at home and are more likely to work hard towards meeting the expected goals. They lead to urgent action by the employees, as they are able to explain the need to carry out a particular task. Inspirational leadership has the potential to increase organizational performance in the public sector by motivating employees to work towards a specific goal. At times, the employees may not be motivated to work, especially during hard economic times and they may feel that their efforts are futile. However, the inspirational leaders have the potential to motivate them to work.
The other type of management that can be applied in the public sector is servant leadership that entails showing great and sincere concern for the employees. Most of the employees desire a work place where the leaders are concerned about their welfare and not just meeting organizational goals (Bass 211). Such leaders aim at ensuring that all employees achieve the full potential of their ability in work. They are the best leaders in making maximum utilization of human resources potential. The main interest of servant leaders is to see that the welfare of employees is guaranteed rather than acquiring power and fame. Servant leaders can help improve the performance of public organizations by removing obstacles that may hinder employees from achieving their full potential.
To determine the impact of leadership training style on public organizational performance in Saudi Arabia, an exploratory mixed research methods study will be carried out. The design uses qualitative and quantitative research methods, making the outcome of the study more accurate. The research method is important as it helps in understanding human behavior and its causes (Attride-Stirling 400). In the current study, it is important to understand the factors that influence the productivity of employees in relation to leadership styles employed. It is also important to determine whether leadership development programs, such as training have an impact on the motivation of employees. A qualitative study is effective in carrying out research on government programs and factors that influence decision making in the public sector. A quantitative study is also important as it helps establish the relationship between leadership and organizational performance. A popular method of conducting exploratory research is the use of case studies and in the current study, the case is Saudi Arabia’s government agencies. In addition, the use of specific case studies helps in analyzing a phenomenon more deeply.
The type of research method adopted dictates the data collection techniques and data analysis procedures to be used. Therefore, the research method should be carefully selected to come up with effective data collection techniques and analysis procedures. This is important in every study as it is vital in coming up with accurate data. In the current study, qualitative data will be collected through interviewing employees in two government agencies, the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency and the General Authority of Civil Aviation. 50 employees from each government agency will be interviewed on their opinions on leadership styles used and their impact on employee productivity. Out of the 100 respondents, 10 of them will be persons holding managerial positions in the agencies. The interviews will use open-ended questions to avoid limiting the responses provided. Interviews are a good tool for data collection in the study as the researcher will be in a position to determine the accuracy of information provided by the respondents. Using both verbal and non-verbal cues, an individual can gauge the accuracy of the responses. The fact that the interviewer has control over the session makes it possible to keep the interviewee on track thus increase the chances of obtaining accurate data. Although the data collection method consumes more time compared to the online survey, the high chances of getting accurate results justify its use. Quantitative data will be collected through questionnaires issued to government officials regarding the leadership styles in the public sector. The data will be analyzed through coding where similar responses will be classified together and presented in bar graphs to derive meaning. The pie charts will also be used in data presentation.
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