Developing appropriate leadership styles
A Tesco case study

Page 5: Factors influencing leadership style

People at each level of responsibility in Tesco, from administrators and customer assistants to directors, face different types of decisions. Each comes with its own responsibilities and timescales. These will influence the most appropriate leadership style for a particular piece of work or for a given project or audience.

cmyk_ramseyTesco managers have responsibilities for ‘front of house’ (customer-facing) staff as well as ‘behind the scenes’ employees, such as office staff. Before making a decision, the manager will consider the task in hand, the people involved and those who will be affected (such as customers). Various internal and external factors may also affect the choice of leadership style used.

Internal factors include the levels of skill that employees have. Large teams may have members with varying levels of skill. This may require the manager to adopt a more directive style, providing clear communication so that everyone knows what to do to achieve goals and tasks. On the other hand, team leaders may take a more consultative approach with other managers of equal standing in order to get their co-operation for a project. External factors may arise when dealing with customers. For example, Berian may need to use a persuasive style to convince a customer to accept a replacement product for an item that is temporarily out of stock.

Critical success factors (CSFs)

In order to build a sustainable and robust business, Tesco has set out critical success factors (CSFs). These are linked at all levels to its business goals. Some CSFs apply to all employees. These are:

  • customer focus – to ensure delivery of ‘every little helps’
  • personal integrity – to build trust and respect
  • drive –to achieve results, even when the going gets tough
  • team working – to ensure positive relationships in and across teams
  • developing self/others – to motivate and inspire others.

Others are specific to the level of responsibility the person or role has and covers:

  • analysing and decision making
  • managing performance
  • managing change
  • gaining commitment.

By meeting the requirements of these CSFs, Tesco managers can build their leadership skills & contribute to the growth of the business.

Tesco | Developing appropriate leadership styles

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