Oes the modern day target driven fire and rescue service need better management or does leadership provide the solution?

Title

Does the modern day target driven fire and rescue service need better management or does leadership provide the solution?

5000-6000 words

Assignment structure.

” Title
” Introduction and context setting
” *Analysis of the issues and summary of the key ideas
” *Discussion and critical analysis of the leadership issues with relevant theory and own involvement/response to it.
” *Reflection on own leadership learning from writing the essay, recommendations for action.
” Conclusion
” References (following the Harvard system) a minimum of seven substantial texts or articles, plus supporting background literature

* note. The overall balance of the word count should be in the marked sections.

The assignment must critically consider the exercise of leadership within this organisation:

This fire and rescue service is a public sector organisation that is going through a significant change process as part of the Governments modernisation agenda. I would like this assignment to firstly recognise the differences between management and leadership and then conclude that this particular organisation will benefit from better leadership.

The assignment must reflect what is happening within this organisation and explain what impact the authors knowledge of leadership might have. I would also like the assignment to explain why some managers have become toxic and the overall affect that this is has on organisational performance.

Organisational issues:

The historical rank based structure has been removed and has been replaced with one that is role based. All job titles, with the exception of firefighter, are now referred to in the managerial context. I.e. Leading Firefighter is now Crew Manager, Station Officer is now Station Manager, Divisional Officers are now either Group Manager or Strategic Manager and the Chief Fire Officer and his deputies are now Brigade Managers.

Managers of all levels are now very much target driven. The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) set stretching targets for Fire and Rescue services (FRS s). I.e. Reduction of calls, efficiency savings and how they engage with minority groups. These are assessed by the Audit Commission and FRS s are scored and bench marked against others FRS s. Managers have been consumed by the need to ensure that the FRS that they work for  hits the targets . Management against such in-flexible targets and bench marking against other FRS s is a relatively new concept for these organisations.

I have found that good managers have become so target focused that they do adversely affect the motivation and morale of their staff. This in turn causes team and organisational performance to suffer. In order to make efficiency savings, staffing levels have been reduced and the demands for greater performance have increased. Managers are under a great deal of stress trying to satisfy the demands of their more senior managers. Long term work related stress is becoming ever more common within the organisation at Group and Strategic Manager level. These managers are working significantly longer hours in order to hit targets without any financial reward or recognition. This could lead to toxic leadership.

New performance monitoring systems have been introduced that clearly identify the targeted activity based on corporate plans. The targets are set by senior managers and are used to judge middle manager performance. This in itself creates significant pressures as these managers tend to concentrate entirely on this measured activity to the detriment of the needs of their teams.

In my opinion, this organisation has some transformational leaders who appear to have the right mix of innovation, combined with the leadership qualities required to change manage the organisation. Conversely, there are still far too many middle/senior managers who are still very autocratic in their style. This was the accepted norm not so long ago when it would have been perfectly acceptable to  rule with an iron fist . They are often less than competent in their roles but are not challenged by senior colleagues due to their intimidating nature They do not motivate staff and this in turn causes poor morale. It is my opinion that they are dysfunctional and toxic.

It is my observation that the dysfunctional managers have control over the areas within this organisation that are the poorest performing. Within their respective teams, I have observed poor morale and a lack of any team spirit or cohesiveness.

Within this organisation, a new Chief Fire Officer has been appointed who appears to be transformational in his style of leadership. He is beginning to challenge those individuals who would be considered toxic leaders. This is sending a positive message to all members within this organisation.

References

Leadership in organisations. Current issues and key trends. John Storey

Leadership: Classical contemporary and critical approaches. Keith Grint

The arts of leadership. Keith Grint

Article: Leadership Toxicity-An Inevitable Affliction of Organisations? Organisations & People, February 2007, vol 14. No 1 Michael Walton

In addition, please use articles from the Harvard Business Review.
Leadership in organisations. Current issues and key trends. John Storey

Leadership: Classical contemporary and critical approaches. Keith Grint

The arts of leadership. Keith Grint

Article: Leadership Toxicity-An Inevitable Affliction of Organisations? Organisations & People, February 2007, vol 14. No 1 Michael Walton

In addition, please use articles from the Harvard Business Review

Minimum of seven substantial texts or articles plus supporting background literature