Supervisory Skills – Toyota VP

Traditionally, supervision has always been seen as a managerial or leadership function that oversees employee productivity and progress. However, Kras, Portillo, and Taxman (2017) define supervision as the ability to bridge the gap between upper management and front-line employees. The leaders can influence the behavior of the subordinates to take a specific course of action and achieve organizational goals. Consistently, as the new vice president, head of Toyota’s Quality Control Department and answering directly to the CEO, I am responsible for overseeing seven directors who are head of various departments in the company. As the Quality Director, my responsibility includes monitoring daily activities, schedule resources, ensure communication within teams, provide guidance and leadership to other teams, and report to the company CEO. 

Short-Term (1 Year) and Long-Term (2 – 10 Years) Goals

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Following the recent decline in employee morale and high pressure to complete tasks, the quality of work in the Quality Control Department has significantly decreased. The Vice President has a responsibility to ensure that the issues facing the employees are addressed to ensure the organization goals and objectives are not affected. To improve employee morale and reduce pressure, the short-term goals include the following. Make some temporary changes to the employee routines and allow employees to take impromptu breaks from their tasks. While the breaks may affect the completion of tasks on time, it will positively improve the employee morale. The other goal will be to celebrate personal milestones when employees complete a task. The employee morals will also be improved by fostering openness among the employees, directors and the other leaders within the organization. Ideally, like Griffin, Phillips, and Gully (2016) notes, openness will allow accessibility, approachability, and availability in the company’s workforce, which means employees can freely raise their grievances or opinions and receive feedback from the superiors. Along with that, the company will also cultivate a culture of teamwork, which will be both short-term and long-term because it is expected to run for an extended period in the company. Another short-term goal will include training the directors and other managers to ensure they have the right leadership skills to improve employee morale and manage their subordinates. Notably, the training will also be long-term. The long-term goals include embracing new technology, which will reduce the daily tasks that employees are expected to complete and significantly reduce the pressure. Over time, the company will also design a program to reward employees based on merit to help employee work harder and stay longer. 

Reorganization within the Department

Reorganizations may be an inevitable part of organizational life, especially in an organization facing challenges such as decreased employee morale and pressure. Typical of any organization structuring, it is likely to upset the employees, cause confusion and uncertainty, which is likely to escalate the current situation. Thus, there will be no reorganization to the physical environment or the organizational structure of the department to allow room for the achievement of the short-term goals and to create room for the design and implementation of the long-term goals.

Assistance Needed From Other Departments

Among the goals designed to boost employee morale include offering training to the directors and managers to ensure they have the right leadership skills to manage the workforce. Usually, training is the work of the human resource department. Therefore, the human resource department will be involved in setting up the training sessions and ensure they remain flexible not to affect work performance. The human resource department will also be involved in developing appropriate pay systems for the proposed incentives. The other seven departments under the Vice President will be expected to cooperate and work together towards the achievement of the proposed goals. The directors and managers are expected to attend training and apply the skills acquired in their leadership and managerial roles.

Proposed Training

The leadership skills training programs for directors, managers, and supervisors are intended to enhance their basic leadership skills at all levels of the company. The program will be composed to cover four distinct but related topics. Under communication, the leaders will learn the fundamental principles of communication that will enable them to enhance their interaction with employees. On performance management, the leaders will learn how to design tangible goals and accomplish them. Under interpersonal relationships, the leaders will learn the effectiveness of interpersonal relationship, ways to develop emotional competency and enhance their relationship with employees. The last part of the training program is leadership, where leaders will learn leadership principles to help in guiding the employees to higher levels of job satisfaction and effectiveness. 

Challenges in Organizational Change

Change is inevitable. However, as Smollan (2013) notes, implementing and managing change within organizations comes with a wide range of challenges. Employees have high expectations, while others remain apprehensive about their fate. The level of trust becomes c critical factor as it determines how employees react to the current change. In the case of the Toyota Company, some of the challenges likely to be experienced by the Vice President include being the focal point for employee anger, fear, and mistrust. Ideally, the former VP was dismissed for cause, and although it is not clear the reasons for termination, the employees might vent their anger on the new VP especially if they liked the previous vice president. Being a new leader, employees are likely to be apprehensive about trusting the new Vice President, and thus take more time than expected to win them over and get them aboard the change process. The increased need to address employee morale, yet within a short period is also a challenge that the new vice president is likely to face. Additionally, since the employees are under pressure, there might be difficulties delegating tasks since everyone is overwhelmed. 

Leadership Traits

Beyond the title of leadership, leaders are expected to have some remarkable traits to qualify as competent and effective. Consistently, some of the leadership traits I would want the seven directors to have included; empathy, optimism, and inspiration. Virtually, empathetic leaders praise in public and address problems in private. According to Shankman, and Allen (2010) such leaders can guide employees when they face challenges and always looking for solutions to ensure long-term organizational success. Consequently, optimism in leaders is a source of positive energy (p. 148). They can communicate with others easily, intrinsically help others, and always look for solutions. Additionally, inspiration is a trait that depicts a truly inspiring leader who is ready to communicate clearly and motivate employees to give their best to the tasks assigned (p.148). They can challenge people through high but achievable expectations and are always giving them the necessary support.

Given the current situation at Toyota Company, the short-term goals will be used to alleviate the problems that the company is facing. By setting the standards and expecting each department to join in, the vice president hopes to improve the employee morale and improve the productivity. Coming up with ways that directly target employees and the directors is one of the best methods to ensure the company objectives are accomplished successfully. 

References

Griffin, R. W., Phillips, J. M., & Gully, S. M. (2016). Organizational Behavior: Managing People and Organizations. Mason, OH: Cengage Learning.

Kras, K. R., Portillo, S., & Taxman, F. S. (2017). Managing from the Middle: Frontline Supervisors and Perceptions of Their Organizational Power. Law & Policy, 39(3), 215-236.

Shankman, M. L., & Allen, S. J. (2010). Emotionally intelligent leadership for students: Development guide. San Francisco, Calif: Jossey-Bass.Smollan, R. K. (July 15, 2013). Trust in change managers: The role of effect. Journal of Organizational Change Management, 26(4), 725-747.

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