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Leadership Assignment Analysis of Leadership Style Employed at Coles Supermarket



Leadership Assignment Brief: A 1,500-word analysis of the leadership style employed at a current or former workplace.

This assignment will contain two different parts.

For Part A; you are required to think of a company or organisation where you have worked or volunteered in the past, or even work today, and reflect on a leadership style (or styles) that you observed. Your analysis should include:

  • A brief introduction to the company itself.
  • A summary of the style, characteristics, and the type of leader that you have identified.
  • A critical evaluation of this leadership style, including ways this leadership could change their style or approach to be a more effective leader.
  • What was blocking this leader from making these changes?

In Part B of this assignment, you will hypothesise alternative leadership styles in place of the leader you identified.

Think about how each different style would affect the processes and organisational culture. If you identified your original leader as, say, an authoritarian leader – would the company and its employees fare better if a laissez-faire approach was adopted? Why is this? How would a different style affect the workplace?


1.0 Part A

1.1 Introduction to the company taken in this leadership assignment
In the current analysis of the company, Coles Supermarkets Australia Pty Ltd, where I have worked in the past, leadership style has been observed and analyzed. Coles Pty Ltd is the largest retailer in Australia with several different outlets of various formats at different locations. Currently, it is present across 807 locations with its retail format stores. It was founded in 1914 and has its headquarters located in Hawthorn East Victoria, Australia. Its current managing director is Steven Cain and the company employs over 112,298 employees across Australia. Coles supermarket stores have effective managers who are highly self-motivated and can easily attain company targets. Being employed at the supermarket, it becomes pertinent to evaluate company details from the store perspective itself. Each supermarket of Coles houses various types of products and offers high-quality services to customers visiting them. There are parking facilities available for customers visiting the store also trolleys for assisting customers to make their shopping experience better.

1.2 Summary of leadership
The manager at the supermarket at Coles Supermarkets located at a central location in Melbourne is the leader recognized for discussion here. The manager had been identified as a leader, as he was the one responsible for motivating all the employees at the shopping center also in attaining goals and objectives stated by the organization. Analyzing his style of leadership reveals that he is a transactional style of leadership, as he makes use of extrinsic rewards extensively. He highly values order and structure within the organization and is highly self-motivated. Hence the identified type of leader is a transactional leader, who strives to attain objectives by any means or measures (Hamstra et al., 2014). He can direct employees formally and does not indulge with them deeply. He makes use of his power in the organization to give discounts, vouchers as well as preferable shifts and leaves to employees, who can perform targets assigned by him to them. He relied on the transactional style of leadership to get his job done with ease. His leadership is manifested in a varied manner, which includes following structural and formal authority also making use of extrinsic rewards for his employees (Groves, and LaRocca, 2011). He was also often seen to penalize employees when they were unable to perform targets that were assigned to them. His impact on the workplace is tremendous as all employees were able to effectively achieve their targets and they tried their levels best to perform as per standards assigned to them. Most importantly it has to be noted that the leader mostly hired fresh employees, who were young and energetic, as they were easily able to achieve targets that were assigned to them.

1.3 Critical evaluation of leadership style
Transactional leadership style includes confirming existing styles and structure of the organization hence success is measured in terms of success as per the organization's system of rewards and penalties (McCleskey, 2014). As observed in the leader, transactional leaders possess formal authority and a responsible position within the organization. The leader was seen responsible for routinely managing employees by way of their performances and facilitation of group performance. The leader was seen to set criteria for the employees as per the pre-defined requirement given by the head-office for individual performances. The leader undertakes performance reviews for managing the employees and followed a system of penalties and rewards for the motivation of employees.

The effect that the leadership style of this leader on the organization is that the upper management level is highly impressed with his ways and manner in which he conducts his organization; however his subordinates do not identify him on their side (Odumeru, and Ogbonna, 2013). As a result of his working style, he is not liked by many employees at the supermarket. As he has often refused new mothers their paid leaves and avoided requests of students to leave early to complete their studies. His stringent efforts to manage the workforce and get directed results have directly gone against some employees and in favor of some employees. This has led to mixed outcomes in the organization. While some employees have been able to be motivated effectively, however, most employees remain highly demotivated as they have repeatedly been not able to reach or meet their targets. Thus, the organization overall has been able to meet their targets yet when analyzing the employees, their results reveal that he had not been effective in motivating all employees and considering them within a part of the entire team. Hence this is an approach that requires transformation, as an effective leader needs to be identified with the employees and be a part of their team instead of being considered a superior at the workplace.

It was felt that the leaders could appropriately change his ways to become more effective as a leader in the workplace. One manner he could become effective was by undertaking communication with employees, forming suitable work-relationships, motivating employee’s intrinsic rewards, identifying him more with the employees than with that of the organization. He could become more charismatic and focussing on influencing the group as well as the organization a better place to work. Instead of being so stringent with his ways and structure, he can become more flexible and then manage the performance of employees with effectiveness. He needed to devise ways such that the self-interests of the employees could be aroused instead of asking them to follow a formal performance structure. Thus, the transaction style of leadership is a more formal and structured leadership style that is being adapted by the current leader.

1.4 Blockage experienced by the leader
The leader at the organization does not envision any changes required in his style of leadership as already he is attaining overall targets assigned to him by the organization. Also, his characteristics are not charismatic; hence he is not able to adopt any other style of leadership. Also, he does not consider the effectiveness of communication with employees for attaining the goals of the organization. There are not present any training programs at the organization currently for enhancing the style of leadership at the organization. Therefore, there are present various internal as well as external factors that are currently blocking the leader from adopting any changes to be adopted in his style of leadership.

2.0Part B
An alternative style of leadership identified in place of the current leader is the transformational style of leadership, which can be effective in the current workplace defined above. Transformational style of leadership unlike transactional style encourages, inspires as well as motivates employees for innovating and creating a process of change that will, in turn, allow the organization to grow for shaping the future of the organization (Diaz-Saenz, 2011). Transformational leaders accomplish goals at the organization by setting an example and creating a strong sense of corporate culture, independence in the workplace, and employee ownership. Instead of commanding over employees like transactional leaders, transformational leaders create employee’s ownership over the tasks that they are performing (Breevaart et al., 2014). They entrust employees to create solutions to their problems. The transformational leader tries to create an organizational culture based on the values of employees, ethical standards, priorities, and standards to make employees develop a sense of self-interest to work for the common good (Hoch et al., 2018).

As the identified leadership style is a transformational leader, I believe that the employees would fare much better when compared against the transactional style of leadership (Ghadi et al., 2013). This is because employees will be chasing goals and objectives for their self-interests and not for getting any kind of reward. The different style of leadership would impact the workplace in a better manner by bringing about positive changes in the employees.

Another alternative leadership style that can be effective in the current workplace of the leader will be laissez-faire approach. This approach allows people to be creative and work with independence. This style of leadership is seen extremely successful in some organizations. At the current workplace, it will be effective as it will allow the employees to work at the organization with more freedom and adapt to their own style for arriving at objectives assigned by the managers at the organization.

In global business aspects, a transformational leader is more appropriate as the leader is up to date and aware of the modern trends in management as well as regarding globalization. Hence suggested style of leadership is the transformational leadership style or laissez-fair approach which will fit the organization in the best possible manner. Senior managers, other stakeholders, the CEO will be impressed by the innovative style of leadership and innovative approach adopted by the employees within the organization.

Breevaart, K., Bakker, A., Hetland, J., Demerouti, E., Olsen, O.K. and Espevik, R., 2014. Daily transactional and transformational leadership and daily employee engagement. Journal of occupational and organizational psychology, 87(1), pp.138-157.

Diaz-Saenz, H.R., 2011. Transformational leadership. The SAGE handbook of leadership, 5(1), pp.299-310.

Ghadi, M.Y., Fernando, M. and Caputi, P., 2013. Transformational leadership and work engagement. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 34(6), pp. 532-550.

Groves, K.S. and LaRocca, M.A., 2011. An empirical study of leader ethical values, transformational and transactional leadership, and follower attitudes toward corporate social responsibility. Leadership assignment Journal of business ethics, 103(4), pp.511-528.

Hamstra, M.R., Van Yperen, N.W., Wisse, B. and Sassenberg, K., 2014. Transformational and transactional leadership and followers’ achievement goals. Journal of Business and Psychology, 29(3), pp.413-425.

Hoch, J.E., Bommer, W.H., Dulebohn, J.H. and Wu, D., 2018. Do ethical, authentic, and servant leadership explain variance above and beyond transformational leadership? A meta-analysis. Journal of Management, 44(2), pp.501-529.

McCleskey, J.A., 2014. Situational, transformational, and transactional leadership and leadership development. Journal of business studies quarterly, 5(4), p.117.

Odumeru, J.A. and Ogbonna, I.G., 2013. Transformational vs. transactional leadership theories: Evidence in literature. International review of management and business research, 2(2), p.355.


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