Blog 5 – My vision of leadership

Blog 5 – My vision of leadership

The business and leadership studies have given me a wider perspectives on leadership. I am able to see that there are different forms and styles of leaders in which will affect the employees and the organization as a whole. Furthermore, it had also exposed me to the different leadership styles across different industries that I have made research on, such as the retail industry, the beverage industry and also the airline industry.

My vision of leadership is as how John Fitzgerald Kennedy puts it, which is that ‘leadership and learning are indispensable to each other’. I share the same concept as what he believes in. Though not denying that leadership characteristics are important, improving yourself through learning is important too.



Quoting from Henry Miller, a leader will need to have sufficient content knowledge to make the right decisions to do the right things while influencing another. Hence, while I may have some knowledge on leadership skills, I would reckon that there are still a lot for me to learn in order that I can lead a team well.

A company with a good leader would always be at an upper hand compared to those without one. A good leader exist in different ways. They may be an inspiration to others, a person to look out to for future directions and also they may be an example to their subordinates.

Leaders serve as a role models not only to their employees but also to the general public as well. How well a company performs can most certainly link with how good its leader is. Tan Sri Dr. Tony Fernandes is the leader that I amaze and admire.


Source: Air Asia Annual Report 2015

The founder of Tune Air Sdn Bhd that bought Air Asia over in 2001 and build in from a heavily in debt low-cost carrier to a company that is now with an annual revenue of RM6.30billion is just inspiring. The corporate figure is no doubt a great business figure to look up to. He is not only an inspiration to me but also acts as a role model for me towards being a good leader. Apart from being a good corporate leader in his achievement, Tan Sri Tony Fernandes leads by example in being down to earth to his employees, making sure that they all work as a team and also giving each of them an opportunity to expand themselves. This can be seen through Air Asia’s All Stars which is what the employees call themselves. This phrase ‘All Stars’ further gives a sense of identity to the employees of the company which I find is very important in a way that they would be able to feel connected and to perform their best (ABS-CBN News 2015).

We will always think that we are right until someone points out saying that you’re wrong. That’s why feedback is important because it helps you to learn and grow. When we receive feedback, no matter positive or negative, it is giving us an opportunity to improve ourselves (Wyse 2015). Feedback I got from my colleagues  is sometimes I’m too demanding. I always assume people to be there for me, to assist me immediately whenever I seek for help even though I know that they’re busy. Getting feedback has helped me to realize my mistake. I need to be more understanding and more patient by controlling my emotions in order to be a better person and a good leader.

Good leaders share a common goal which is to inspire to change for the better (Sena 2015). There are lots of leaders in the world but only a handful would bring change to a company; change for the better.


All in all, leadership is just a part of the factors to be successful as illustrated from the picture above. It is not only a leader that defines the success of the company but the attributes of being a leader. One that is able to bring together teamwork, motivates his subordinates, inspiring them with vision and innovation to the company would add up the formula in bringing success to the company.

Nevertheless, a great leader would be like what Tony Fernandes has put it, ‘A great leader is not someone who stays forever but builds the next leadership team that will make it better’. It is crucial that a next generation of leadership is trained and built so that the company does not only rely on one person but has the ability to continue to grow with a team of new leaders when the present one retires.

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List of references

ABS-CBN News (2015) Air Asia CEO: Positive thinker, unusual leader [online] available from < > [12 November 2016]

Air Asia (2015) ‘Annual Report’ [online] available from < > [12 November 2016]

Sena. M. (2015) 9 of the most inspiring acts of leadership [online] available from < > [12 November 2016]

Wyse. S. E. (2015) 5 reasons why feedback is important (online) available from < > [18 November 2016]

Blog 4 – Managing Change

Blog 4: Managing change



‘Change is nothing new and a simple fact of life. Some people actively thrive on new challenges and constant change, while others prefer the comfort of the status quo and strongly resist any change’ (Mullins 2010)


Source: Google Image

This statement of Mullins has illustrated the idea that, to be better, change is necessary because nothing great will come from staying in your comfort zone.

Change is taking an action to transition from one state to another and be different. As Winston Churhill has quoted: ‘to improve is to change, to be perfect is to change often.’ People need to change in order to cope with the changes present in the environment, so do organizations and management. Management change is a systematic approach to deal with change from both the perspective of the organization and the individual (Mullins 2013). Changes also enable an organization to improve its effectiveness and therefore allow the company to discover its potential to grow. A business must always be ready to adapt to change.

Lewin’s 3-steps model was created to critically explain the process of change.


Source: Burnes 2004

The process of implementing change is broken down into three stages:

  • First step is to Unfreeze, which is to identify the need for change and prepare for the change;
  • Second step is to Change, which is to introduce the changes needed;
  • Third and final stage is the Refreeze, which is to set up stability.

From Lewin’s model, we can see that it is not easy in order to change as new things are being implemented in an organisation and results are still being uncertain. Hence, leaders are very crucial in this situation to guide through the whole process.

‘A leader is somebody who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way to his team members’. Quoted by John C Maxwell.

Change involves top to bottom of the company. Organisational change is always brought about by teamwork through those who work in the company.  Hence, appointing a good leader is important in making changes. This can be seen from the success of Yahoo.


Marissa Mayer has been the President and Chief Executive Officer of ‘Yahoo!’ since 2012 and is currently 2016’s 55th most powerful women according to Forbes (2016).

When she first joined Yahoo as CEO in 2012, there was a phase of declining interest in the company’s products. Mayer understood the need to change to help Yahoo take its products and transition from desktop computers to mobile phones (Chafkin 2016). Nonetheless, she also tried to ensure that her employees were happy in their working environment in the process of transitioning. Mayer’s transition to the head of position of Yahoo has seen improvement to Yahoo business from almost every angle. Stocks have increased and quarterly earnings have improved but, more importantly, employees are embracing their new leader (Sun 2016).

Nevertheless, there are also organizations that are resistant to changes as they are fearful of the failure that may happen. However, as how John C Maxwell has put it, ‘There is no success without failures and losses’. Hence, it is important that companies and organizations embrace change and give it the try to further improve their performance (Mullins 2013, 714).

There are various companies that by taking a step to making changes to their business model, has succeeded. The Apple brand is one of the biggest and most innovative technological companies in the world and is well-known to everyone on the street.


Apple is no doubt one of the most successful technology companies (Elgan 2015). Despite being so successful now, the company has actually went through a lot of hard times in the past. Apple was in a rather state of loss when it was struggling to find a consistent source for a profitable revenue from 1993 to 1997 (Markoff 1996). However, when its co-founder Steve Jobs, who had then left the company was brought back to Apple as an Advisor in 1997, had helped the company to get it back on track in making profits (Fell 2011). Steve Jobs is well known as the backbone of Apple and is the person behind great inventions for the company and making Apple a well-known mobile technology company through inventions such as the iPod and iPhone. According to CNN Money (2016), Apple’s iPhone has make the company to become the most valuable business in the world. Such a turn over from a company that was struggling to find its feet on to a company that is now one of the largest in the world would not have happened if not for the drastic change in business model that had taken placed. Hence, it can be seen that when a change is pursuit, drastic positive changes may come into effect as well.

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List of references

Burnes, B. (2004) ‘Kurt Lewin and the Planned Approach to Change: A Re appraisal’ Journal of Management Studies 41, 977-1002.

Chafkin. M. (2016) Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer on selling a company while trying to turn it around [online] available from < > [10 November 2016]

CNN Money (2016) Apple sells its billionth iPhone [online] available from < > [10 November 2016]

Elgan. M. (2015) Why Apple is the most successful company in history [online] available from < > [9 November 2016]

Fell. J. (2011) How Steve Jobs saved Apple [online] available from < > [9 November 2016]

Forbes (2016) The World’s 100 most powerful women (online) available from < > [10 November 2016]

Markoff. J. (1996) Apple expects it will lose $700 million [online] available from <> [9 November 2016]

Mullins. L. J. (2013) Management & Organisational Behaviour. 10th edn. Pearson Education Limited. United Kingdom

Sun. W. (2016) 11 things we can learn from Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer [online] available from < > [10 November 2016]




Blog 3 -Most effective leadership style to managing the work of subordinate

‘There is no single ideal, as the best approach may vary according to circumstances and individual characteristics.’ – CMI (2013).

Leadership and management are two very distinct yet important parts of a person in a managerial position in a company. I agree to the statement in CMI 2013 that the past method of command and control is something managers would try to avoid nowadays and have a more approachable method.

Leadership and management have their similarities and differences. People who hold managerial positions in a company are said to be the people who are more hands-on to matters of the company like the operations of the company. They would have to control the system in the company, manage resources to ensure optimum usage and at the same time ensuring there that it is not in wastage and also to ensure standards are controlled (Yulk 2013, 22).

Leaders are said to be people who set goals, directions and leading their subordinates to achieve such mission. They are people who keep their focus in ensuring that achieving a goal and keeping the team motivated is carried out. Warren Bennis in his 1989 book, “On Becoming a Leader” had listed a few differences such that a manager administers while a leader innovates, the manager maintains while the leader develops and the manager has his eyes always on the bottom line whole the leader’s eye is on the horizon.

However, these two working styles should not be separated but has to go hand-in-hand in managing a company and the people in it. We are in an era where developments have been made not onto in the business world but also developments knowledge and work styles of employees. Just like how Peter Drucker, the management guru who puts it in a phrase and recognized it as the emergence of the “knowledge worker”. As he once wrote, “the task is to lead people. And the goal is to make productive the specific strengths and knowledge of every individual” (Murray 2010).

There are various leadership styles that exist in the working environment. How a company is run through its working culture and goals can actually determine what sort leadership style it works best in. The different leadership styles are the participative one which encourages the participation of employees in the development of the company, the autocratic one which gives managers the deciding power and only they alone make decisions without employees having a choice in voicing their opinions and the laissez-faire leader who gives employees the freedom to do what they like without any interference (Mullins 2013, 377&383).

I feel that the most effective approach in managing the work of subordinates is the participative approach. This approach not only injects fresh ideas to the company but also gives employees a sense of belonging and participation in the company’s decision making. Although the final decision can be rested in the top management of the company, this would give employees a chance to play a part in the company’s development.

There are various examples that can be seen whereby executives of a company would use different approaches that deems fit to their company.

4795Christoph Mueller

Malaysia Airlines has been in a rather bad shape in terms of performance when its new CEO, Christoph Mueller took over. However, he has taken the initiative to take up a more participative style of leadership. Although there were tough decisions to make, he had held town halls with fellow employees to explain to them and also to listen to them. Before leaving the company and to facilitate and smooth transition a new CEO, Mr.Mueller had also held town hall meetings with the National Carrier’s employees to brief them on it (FMT 2016). Another town hall meeting with employees was held in July where the new CEO and Managing Director of Malaysia Airlines were introduced in July (NST 2016). These approachable town hall meetings help to involve fellow employees in the company’s management affairs. Apart from informing them what is going on, employees are able to even voice out their ideas or grievances so that matters can be resolved.

±M³XPICT Group MD®³·þ»¯¤åÄ£ ¡]°OªÌ¡G¶À¨q¤ª¡^¡]Äá¼v¡G³¯ªY·u¡^Dato’ Michael Tio

Another company that has a rather good two-way approach with its employees is Port Klang Trading(PKT) Logistics Group Sdn. Bhd. Its CEO, Dato’ Michael Tio is well known for his very approachable leadership in the corporate world. He has won many awards from various organizations recognizing his achievement in the logistics sector and is famously known as the employer who connects with his employees with the Facebook. It may be seen as a reward or as a bonus for bringing his employees for overseas vacations, but during this time that the employer and employee would sit together and actually make planning and strategies for the company (Mahalingam 2014). This would, as we have seen above, may boost the working relationship between employers and employees.

In short, this leadership behavior has ensured a two-way interaction with employees as they would sometimes know more as to what is on the ground and what would be a better way to improve.

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List of references

Bahari. B. (2016) Bellew excited to be leading Malaysia Airlines [online] available from <> [19 October 2016]

Bennis. W. (2009) On Becoming a Leader. 20th Anniversary edn. Basic Books. United States

CMI (2013) Understanding Management Style Checklist 236, Chartered Management Institute: London

Free Malaysia Today (2016) Mueller: It’s personal, not political [online] available from <> [19 October 2016]

Mahalingam. E. (2014) Up Close and Personal with Datuk Michael Tio, CEO of PKT Logistics Group Sdn Bhd [online] available from <> [19 October 2016]

Mullins. L. J. (2013) Management & Organizational Behaviour. 10th edn. Pearson Education Limited. United Kingdom

Murray. A. (2010) The Wall Street Journal Guide to Management. Harper Business. United States

Yulk. G. (2013) Leadership in Organizations. 8th edn. Pearson Education Limited. United Kingdom

Blog 2 – The challenges of managing diverse teams

Blog 2 – The challenges of managing diverse teams


Diversity means the inclusion of different qualities of people in a group or organization. A diverse organization must be able to understand and accept the concept of individual differences (Yukl 2013, 363). The retail industry is a unique industry whereby it can be seen that it is not dominated by a single faction of the community of the world. It is a mixture of community, culture, ethnicity, gender and also different ages. This would sum up what diversity would bring. Diversity in the retail industry is crucial for its development in this ever-changing world. A diverse team of workforce in the industry would bring an impact to the industry. A diverse team and workforce would create more ideas to the company and to also response to the different needs of the customers and consumers (Mullins 2013, 153). As retail companies expand and goes from national to international course of business, it is even more important that diversity is increasingly growing in its workforce as the level of competition also increases with the different needs. We can therefore relate that a diverse workforce would bring success factor to the company and organization.

Challenges of Managing a Diverse Team

Though the industry is considered a rather diverse in terms of workforce, there are however, still some challenges and setbacks that continue to haunt the industry. One of it is the lack of a more gender-balanced team especially at the top management level. Women are known as the backbone of retail with the feminine gender dominating the spending in the retail industry with about 70%-80% of consumer spending in the US being powered by women (Brennan 2011). However, when it comes to women at the top level, only about 19.9% is being filled by women while a hand full of 5.6% are at the CEO positions (Lindsey 2016). A research by Gallup, a US based research company had shown that retail businesses that are more gender-diverse have a 14% higher average financial outcome than less-diverse ones (Badal 2014).

Another challenge would be the difference in cultures and ethics. Having to manage a team, especially if it’s a big company and is one that is a diverse would mean that the sensitivity of fellow workers is being respected. Countries like the United Kingdom and Ireland have a call free line under Retail Trust to ensure that workers who face any discrimination in their retail sector can actually contact the organization for help. As the organization puts it, “a diverse workforce is not about employers doing the right thing and should not be seen as just a tick a box exercise (Retail Trust 2014). Discrimination can come in direct ways or indirect ways. The former is easier to identify whereas the latter would come in situations where a selected group of people are more favorite than the other when applying for jobs. Hence, having a diverse workforce is important yet, it is a challenge to ensure that all is treated equally to ensure that the organization would be productive.

Examples of Companies with a Diverse Workforce

Though having a diverse workforce may not be a norm for some companies, we can actually see good examples in some big retail brand names. One of them is none other than Apple, the technological giant that has hundreds of retail stores around the world.

14600852_10154023610426158_3427223906373401262_nSources: Apple 2016

Its diverse workforce can be seen through data shown in its website whereby it shows that it is improving in being more diverse in places such as hiring more women and more ethnic minorities. Between 2014 and 2016, it is shown that the company had an increase of 6% from 31% to 37% in hiring females and an increase of 5% from 22% to 27% in hiring underrepresented minorities (Apple 2016). Apple has shown to be a rather diverse workplace with employees from all walks of lives.

Another retail giant is Tesco. Tesco through its “Everyone is Welcome to Tesco” work style ensures that diversity and inclusiveness is practiced. The company hires people from all walks of lives and ensures that everybody is given a chance to work with it. It partners with various organizations in supporting those who are less capable such as those who have disabilities so that they may be able to find a job as well. With a large number of retail shops around the world, Tesco, through its actions ensures that diversity is able to take place in its business (Tesco 2016).

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List of References

Apple (2016) Inclusion & Diversity – Apple [online] available from <> [01 October 2016]

Badal. S. B. (2014) The Business Benefits of Gender Diversity [online] available from <> [02 October 2016]

Brennan. B. (2011) Why She Buys: The New Strategy for Reaching The World’s Most Powerful Consumers. Crown Business. United States

Lindsey. K. (2016) Why retail is short on women leaders – and what retailers can do about it [online] available from <> [03 October 2016]

Mullins. L. J. (2013) Management & Organisational Behaviour. 10th edn. Pearson Education Limited. United Kingdom

Retail Trust (2014) Respecting Diversity in the workplace [online] available from <> [02 October 2016]

Tesco (2016) Our Diversity Partners – Our Tesco [online] available from <> [03 October 2016]

Yukl. G. (2013) Leadership in Organizations. 8th edn. Pearson Education Limited. United Kingdom.



Blog 1 – Leadership and ethics

Leadership and Ethics

“Ethical leaders have a tremendous impact on how people in the organizations behave and what they achieve” (Thornton 2013). This statement by Thornton has shown how ethical leadership is a crucial part of corporate ethics. Ethics is knowing the difference between the right you have to do something and what is right to do. Therefore, ethics simply means honesty. Leadership on the other hand, refers to a person or a business that is able to know, decide and show the direction of the business to his employees. Therefore, ethical leadership is the set of honest standards and belief that a company practices while conducting their business. It is a belief of respect to the value, dignity and rights of others to ensure that the values of the company are realized (Business Roundtable n.d). Ethical leadership is an honest standard of running a business. Honest standard does not only cover how a business is run but how the end product is resulted. In the retail industries, the way the business is run, whether ethical or not would not mirror the end product. A very ethical business leadership model may not end up having a successful business empire while the very opposite, an unethical business conduct may seem to produce products by the millions.

Principle theories of Ethical Leadership

There are two types of principle theories for the practice of ethical leadership. One of the principles is deontological ethics, which emphasizes on the action of what people do, whether the action taken is good or bad, rather than focusing on the consequences (BBC 2014). The other principle is teleological ethics. This focus only on the end results even though the process to get to the good result involves ‘bad’ action (BBC 2014). As an example, ethics in the cosmetic industry has always been an issue amongst the society because of their animals testing methods.

4-V Model of Ethical Leadership


Sources: Center of Ethical Leadership 2014

It is important that the retail industry adheres to the 4-V model that was created by Dr.Bill Grace. The development of ethical leadership places importance on a balanced of every aspect of moral, human, leadership and community growth. Each of them plays an important role to ensure that ethical leadership is not compromised in the company. The Values and Vision of a company should be clearly stated to ensure that both employer and employee work towards a common goal for the company. The Voice of an ethical leadership links the previous two Vs together with the company by communicating effectively the core values and visions. It is also a fresh energy to ensure that an effective leadership is instilled in the company. Virtue is a distinguishing factor of an ethical leadership, which involves the harmonization of principles, relationships and commitment to a collective goal. According to the 4-V model laid down, it is a differentiating factor that will modify society to one that exceeds leadership ‘effectiveness’ (Center of Ethical Leadership 2014).

Corporation that practices unethical leadership

The retail industry is one of those business areas that have been tainted greatly by scandals of unethical leadership. As we have seen from the definition above, ethical leadership involves respecting the needs of others as well. There are examples where we can see big retail chains, practicing unethical leadership and yet, takes forever to correct it. One of the companies that allegedly practice unethical leadership would be Uniqlo. Its scandal surrounding it would be the violation of labor. The lives of the workers working in its supplier’s factories in China have been reportly alleged to have excessive working hours and very low basic wages. Apart from that, working conditions are alleged to be bad and have a negative effect to the human health (Chang 2015).

Corporation that practices ethical leadership

Ethical leadership can be seen through the ways a company is formed and managed to their end products. As we have seen above, unethical leadership may cause work conditions that are poor and may even be degrading to the human rights. Nevertheless, there are of cause many other companies that have shown what ethical leadership is and what it will result. One of them would be H&M Hennes & Mauritz AB (H&M). A giant Swedish multinational clothing retail that is widely seen as one if the biggest clothing retailers in the world, H&M prides itself as it improves on the annual sustainability report. Although not escaping from problems such as employment of under-aged labour by its supplier, H&M envisions itself as a company that runs economically, socially and environmentally sustainable (H&M 2015).

14469446_10154013791136158_6574088474460514245_n  Sources: H&M 2015

Lucy Siegle in her fashion supply chain article has pointed out that under the 2012 sustainability report; H&M has improved in terms of social justice, gender equality and even material innovation (Siegle 2013). Organic cotton usage has been improved in the company and it is reported that by 2020, 100% will be of sustainable sourced cotton. Therefore, it can be seen that though it is not a 100% marked report card for H&M as having an ethical leadership, Ethical Business Observers such as Lucy Siegle is positive that the company is heading to a right way (Siegle 2012).

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List of References

BBC (2014) Duty Based Ethics [online] available from <> [17 September 2016]

Business Roundtable (n.d) Ethical Leadership [online] available from <> [17 September 2016]

Centre of Ethical Leadership (2014) Concepts and Philosophies [online] available from <> [18 September 2016]

Chang. M (2015) UNIQLO: Japanese Fast Fashion Label, Accused of Labor Violations [online] available from <> [18 September 2016]

H&M (2015) Our Vision [online] available from <> [19 September 2016]

Siegle. L (2013) H&M: How does the fashion retailer’s sustainability report stack up? [online] available from <> [19 September 2016]

Siegle. L (2012) Is H&M the new home of ethical fashion? [online] available from <> [20 September 2016]

Thornton. L. F. (2013) 7 Lenses: Learning the Principles and Practices of Ethical Leadership. 1st edn. Leading in Context LLC