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  • Subject Name : Leadership


Leadership is practical dexterity radically influencing the organizational performance. It is often regarded to as the ability of creating and handling a team. It focuses on the dynamics of the team and ensures that the positive change is accelerated in the team by the virtue of the elevation in the performance standards and motivation of the team members (Rosenbach, 2018). It is employed by the leaders as an approach to make sure that the team performance is managed in an effectual custom. It is imperative for the organizations to keep a check of efficiency of the leadership style being incorporated to make sure that the organizational performance is improved and a better tea engagement is cultivated. With the growing consensus about the reduction of employee turnover and evasion of unnecessary financial expenditure as a result of repeated training and orientation, more and more organizations are recognizing the prominence of employee motivation and engagement. Also, leadership is critical in businesses to keep a close check of the dynamic situational contingencies (Russell, 2016). Managers are recognizing the significance of effective leadership in terms of synchronizing the teams, communicating with the stakeholders and in crafting a compelling vision.

This summative assessment is an extensive analysis of the leadership issues sustaining in the organization. For specifically narrowing down the essay, Woolworths is chosen as the firm which operates in the retailing industry in Australia. Woolworths Australia is among the largest supermarket chains across the country (Biddle, 2016). It intends to deliver fresh food to customers in Australia. It has managed to dot its stores across the busiest cities in the country. This summative essay is branched into four key sections. The initial section of the essay builds a context of the organization and also highlights the key issues being incurred by the firm n its leadership. The following section proposes a suitable leadership style that can be incorporated by Woolworths to addresses its problematic concern in leadership. The third section recommends a valid set of corporate recommendations for strategically implementing the proposed leadership style and hence, addressing the issues. The concluding section underlines the key underpinnings of the essay.

Problematic Leadership Approach in Woolworths

Organizational Context

Woolworths' vision is to deliver quality services and products to the customers along with eminent shopping experience through its price strategies, a wide portfolio of fresh food and robust training of the human resources (Biddle, 2016). The mission of the business is to deliver top-notch quality shopping experience to each customer each time they visit the stores. The organisation has developed sustainable goals in context with the changing environmental and social needs of the customers, its goal is to ensure that the social development is strengthened and environmental destruction is deflated through its strategies strictly aligning with corporate social responsibility. It is also working to alleviate poverty and is expanding its existing initiatives for directing towards transformational goal and fostering enterprise development. The organisation has also prioritised to address the adversative impact it poses on the environment and is focusing on reducing the carbon footprint. As a responsible firm, it recognises the climate change issue and is working to adopt urgent actions if the damage is further propagated.

It is referred to as the biggest supermarket chain in the country and is owned by the Woolworths Limited group. It was established in the year 1924 and it's very first store was opened in Sydney's Imperial Arcade (Grimmer, 2018). Since then, the organisation is working on expanding its number of stores and has managed to penetrate in different cities of the country. It

has around 15,000 shares which are given to public and business enterprises. It holds about 52 per cent of share in the retail market which itself depicts the success of the organisation. In the past 50 years, the organisation has enjoyed a fine business environment with increasing shopping centres and the virtuous response of the customers.

Woolworths is one of the top brands in retail business and it covers an appreciable share in Australian food retail chain and in New Zealand, it is the second-largest retail chain. It has effectively laid prominence on international expansion and is also listed in the Australian Securities Exchange. Its commitment towards serving its customers by providing high-quality products at minimum prices has managed to gain the trust and confidence of the customers and has also allowed it to reach the summit of profitability (Grimmer, 2018). The products involved in its portfolio are petrol, grocery, food, liquor, consumer electronics and general merchandise. It is committed to serving customers through economically creating different job opportunities, improving its relationship with the shareholders and indulging in resource and development and fostering the production and agricultural sector.

Problematic Leadership

Despite its success in the retail industry, the organisation has also been in limelight as a result of the negative implications. The retail sector is one of the most competitive domains in the market. Different organisations operating in this industry compete with each other for attending a competitive edge. Employee turnover remains one of the critical issues in the organisation. Employee turnover is quite high in Woolworths as many employees are leaving the high profile jobs due to uncomfortable working conditions which have also caused many employees at lower level quitting the jobs (Grimmer, 2018). The organisation is suffering from its intricacy in managing the human resource and is facing challenges in terms of employee retention and incorporation of suitable management parameters.

This is closely associated with the management and leadership style being trailed in the organisation. Leadership is basically an approach with which a leader manages the team dynamics and motivates team members towards the accomplishment of a particular objective. It is essential that the leaders are able to accommodate the employees into the virtual work location and also craft different ways of managing the corporate culture as well as the orientation of the employees (Chan, 2018). There is a requirement of Woolworths recognising its workplace issues and how it is impacting and interacting with the workplace dynamics and hence, resulting in employee turnover.

Currently, Woolworths has around 976 supermarkets and a thousand stores across the country with 19 convenience stores (Biddle, 2016). The total number of 1,15,000 employees works in the organisation. Since, it has a large number of employees; therefore, it becomes essential that their management is done in an inefficient manner. The firm was accused of not paying its staff as per their work. The supermarket giant was investigated by the Fair Work Ombudsman in the context of wage underpayment of its staff members. In the year 2019, Woolworths admitted to the stock exchange that the organisation has identified about around 5700 staff members being underpaid for the past nine years (The Guardian, 2019). The news was being flashed on every television and media outlets creating a buzz about the organisational unethical behaviour. It was also estimated that the number of underpaid workers was probably higher than that disclosed by the firm as it reported underpayment of only 5700 workers. It failed to calculate the staff been short-changed.

Sandra Parker, the Fair Work Ombudsman expressed her shock regarding Woolworths being guilty of underpayment of its staff members and also investigation was conducted in terms of self-disclosure and breaching of the workplace laws. This not only damaged the reputation of the organisation but also brought forward about the pitfalls in the leadership of the organisation in terms of treating the employees and rewarding them (The Guardian, 2019). It is another factor that contributed to the high turnover of the employees as post this incident many employees lost their trust in the firm. Woolworths follows autocratic management and leadership style. Under this leadership style, the decisions of the business are made by the managerial team and the leaders and they dictate it to the staff members and a traditional management style is henceforth, embedded in the organisational culture.

Addressing the Problematic Leadership Through Servant Leadership

Considering the low employee morale and motivation of the employees in Woolworths, it is essential that suitable and fitting leadership approach is incorporated which not only boosts motivation and encouragement but is also ethical as well as promotes participation of the employees in the organisational decision-making procedures. According to contingency theory, there is no one particular type of leadership and management approach that can fit in with different types of organisations (Neubert, Hunter & Tolentino, 2016). With every organisation, the management and leadership tactic varies henceforth, post examining the leadership issue in Woolworths; it can be recommended to the organisation to adopt servant leadership for addressing the issues of low employee morale, deflated motivation, high employee turnover and poor adherence to the standards.

Servant leadership is basically a leadership approach in which the principal aim of the leader is to serve. A servant leader ensures that power is utilised for assisting the employees and developing high-performance standards (Spears & Lawrence, 2016). A servant leader also makes sure that customer service associates are assisted and their actions are prioritised. This type of leadership is helpful in shifting the mindsets of individuals towards adopting a participatory approach and henceforth, supporting the team. This leadership style is focused on elevating commitment and engagement among the employees and making sure that they effectively align the personal goals with that of the organisation which ultimately contributes to the overall accomplishment of the goals. This approach is practised in many top-ranking companies because of the fact that it embeds the employees as a team and fosters teamwork and also elevates team performance. It is helpful in goal achievement and success of the employees.

A servant leader makes sure that the skills of the employees are improved and the employees are influenced by attaining their goals through empowerment. Servant leader's main concern is well being of the employees and they ensure that the work environment is managed in such a way that the deadlines, performance rewards and work allocation and evaluations are managed in an efficient custom without any sort of biases (Spears & Lawrence, 2016). It ultimately poses a positive impact on the satisfaction and well-being of the employees. Furthermore, under servant leadership, the employees also feel to make extra efforts on behalf of the leaders, however, in case of autocratic leadership, employees are usually demotivated and do not feel the need to make extra efforts on behalf of the leaders.

Addressing Employee Motivation

High employee turnover in Woolworths is a result of poor motivation strategies in the organisation and this is the reason that many employees are leaving the organisation. Also, employees are leaving the organisation due to pitiable cultivation of strong ties with the organisation. By incorporating servant leadership, the organisational leaders and the managerial team can make sure that the psychological health of the employees is improved (Russell, Maxfield & Russell, 2017). This can be done through incorporating servant leadership and ensuring that the less strain is posed on the employees and they are assimilated into the organisation as valuable assets rather than burdening work and piling of tasks for them. The key to the motivation of the employees is laying emphasis on their welfare and growth. Since servant leaders are grounded on serving the employees, they effectively motivate the employees to grab every prospect to constructively impact the behaviour of the employees and hence, make a difference in terms of their production and performance.

In Woolworths, it is evident that the employees also feel left out from the decision-making process and are not well informed about the salary structure and the payment or any sort of business change. To voice the changes and deflate any sort of dissatisfaction among employees, servant leadership can be incorporated for motivating employees (Holtshausen, 2020). They make sure that open lines of communication are discovered and personal problems of the employees are resolved at the earliest. This leadership not only iterates around the professional work but also tackles the personal feelings of the employees and hence, in Wordsworth, this leadership can be incorporated to ask employees about the input on different possible changes, methods and ideas. In the organisation, servant leaders will be active listeners and a deep-seated and depict empathetic concern and they can maintain acceptance of the viewpoints and values of the employees henceforth, increasing motivation levels. Also, they adhere to ethics and ensure that the employees are rewarded and the monetary credits are provided on time (Russell, Maxfield & Russell, 2017).

Embedding Ethical Considerations

Ethical considerations of Woolworths and the case of underpayment of the staff members have fuelled its consideration of strong ethical training. The call for the strengthening of ethics is also stemmed from the fact that employees are not rewarded in an effective custom and also best practices are not followed for rewarding employees in the organisation (Monaghan & Monaghan, 2017). Therefore, the unethical practices in the organisation are resulting in the degraded motivation of the employees considering this, servant leadership can be effectively implemented within the business to ensure that an ethical approach is followed and a personal touch is provided in the process of guiding the subordinates. With the help of servant leadership, a systematic approach can be incorporated for developing the employees as a leader and creating an ethical environment by relying on the values. Servant leader provides a preposition for accelerating the positive outcomes and cultivating efficacious ethics into the business culture. They are more likely to offer ethical choices and they represent a solid foundation for ethical behaviour with uniformity. Henceforth, trailing of servant leadership in Woolworths can be a great tactic for ensuring compliance with ethical considerations.

Integrating Authenticity

Servant leaders are authentic, empathetic and self-aware (Sims, 2018). Considering the low morale of the employees in Wordsworth and the strong dictating behaviour of the leaders, it can be made sure that the leaders incorporate servant leadership and hence, depict persuasion, awareness, conceptualization, commitment to growth and development as the key principles for maintaining optimal motivation levels among the employees and for the driving them towards the accomplishment of organisational goals.

Corporate Recommendations

Improving Supply Chain

The online delivery system of Woolworths has often been criticized due to the late deliveries and delayed response from the customer services team. The organisation has also been in limelight due to its inability to deliver the orders on due time and delaying beyond the supposed delivery date. This has led to the dissatisfaction of the customers on a large scale. For scrutinizing this scenario, it can be inferred that servant leadership can be incorporated for not only motivating employees but also ensuring that the technological glitters are eradicated (Jie & Gengatharen, 2019). In the age of technology, Woolworths is rapidly growing customers. It is essential that servant type of leadership is incorporated as it not only fosters team cohesion but also accelerates the technological interventions. For Woolworths, being a large chain in Australia, it is cardinal that the orders are delivered on due time and henceforth, servant leadership can be incorporated for appropriate training of the employees and their interaction with the technical team and devices.

This leadership will not only empower the team but will ensure that the team resonates with timely responding to the queries of the customers. The employees can be provided training on AI for recognising the purchases of vegetables and fruits (Singh, Shukla & Mishra, 2018). Servant leadership can be incorporated for fostering distinctive competency of Woolworths and properly managing the supply chain and anchoring the competitive advantage.

Better Personal Growth and Training Opportunities

Employee motivation is of prime importance for every organisation. For Woolworths, being a retail giant in Australia, it is extremely essential to maintain an optimum level of motivation among the employees (Mikkelsen, Jacobsen & Andersen, 2017). For doing so, servant leadership must be embedded into the organisational culture so that a participative approach is followed by the leaders towards the employees. According to Maslow's hierarchy of needs, the highest level of motivation of employees can be attained by providing them opportunities for personal growth (Mikkelsen, Jacobsen & Andersen, 2017). Employees feel enthusiastic within an organisation and they feel motivated when they are assured of the accomplishment of their personal goals as well as professional goals. Woolworths can ensure that elevated acceptance is depicted towards employees (Mortimer, 2017). Everyone among the workforce must be accepted even for their not so good behaviour by confronting and holding the high ethical standards and accepting the pitfalls of the employees as well.

They can be trained and the sense of being valued can be cultivated among them. Persuasion leading can also be incorporated to safeguard that motivation of the employees is inflated. It can be done by building consensus within the teams and groups regarding their well being. Strong relationship-building skills can be depicted through servant leadership and can be made sure that a sense of commitment is depicted towards the professional as well as personal growth. Woolworths must lay emphasis on departmental training. Training regarding leadership such as employee leadership must be promoted so that the employees feel that they are provided with different prospects and there are chances of personal growth in the organisation.

Better Auditing Systems

Since underpayment is an integral issue within the organisation and it has also been investigated regarding the same, it is essential that the current organisational structure is redesigned so that any sort of underpayment of staff is avoided. This not only damages the reputation of the organisation but also results in the demotivation of the employees. It can be recommended to the organisation that with the help of servant leadership, ethical considerations are strictly adhered to in the firm. Regular auditing of the salary dispersion must be made. The accounting team must be directed to strictly review and update the information of all employees along with the staff database and it must be in line with the updates of the national employment standards of the country and with the agreements of the enterprise (Dorn, Garrett & Epstein, 2018). The contracts of employment must be complied to while structuring the complete salary structure of the employees. The staff pay records must be audited on a regular basis and must be ensured that they are in line with the entitlements of different employees while the payments are processed (Ford et al., 2020).

Audit compliance not only reduces the risk of repeated underpayment of wages, rewards or benefits but also ensures that the reputation of the organisation is protected and the motivation of the employees is inflated. Any sort of discrepancies from the audit must be notified to the supervisor of the respective departments by the employees (Grimmer, 2019). For doing so, employees can be informed through mail or online portals and they can submit their issues to their respective supervisors if any sort of discrepancy is incurred in the salary disseminated. Additionally, if an employee takes action against any sort of bias in terms of salary provision, then the whistleblower policy must be enacted. Furthermore, if any sort of glitches is witnessed in the salary dispersion, the Fair Work Team must ensure that the total amount actually paid and the duration of underpayment. It must be urgently determined along with the entitlement and back payment.

Improved Training Curriculums

Considering the scenario of underpayment, it is essential that under servant leadership, employees are provided training regarding comprehending the employee entitlements and payroll so that in times of uncertainty, they can immediately report it to the supervisor. In addition to this, the organisation must be strictly adhered to the Fair Work Commission and regularly review the changes published by the same (Grimmer, 2019). Also, the record of the employees must be kept at least for seven years so that any sort of future investigations is supported with evidence. It will not only be beneficial in supporting the reputation of the firm but will also maintain transparency among the employees in concern with the salary dissemination and hence, contributing to the eradication of any sort of discrepancy.


This summative essay has maintained a key refrain of leadership and associated intricacies incurred in Woolworths. It has critically examined problematic leadership in the organization. The essay has discoursed that leadership stresses on the dynamics of the team and safeguards that the constructive alteration is supported in the team by the high caliber of the elevation in the standards of performance and motivation of the team members. The essay elaborates that the mission of the firm is to deliver a high-quality shopping experience to its wide framework of customers. The organisation has developed sustainable goals in context with the changing needs of the customers in the social and environmental context, its goal is to ensure that the social development is facilitated and environmental damage is minimized via its tactics strictly complying with corporate social responsibility.

The essay lays emphasis on the high employee turnover in the organization. In Woolworths, many employees are leaving as a result of unfavourable working conditions which have also caused a deflation in the motivation. The organisation is suffering from its intricacy in managing the human resource and is facing challenges in terms of employee retention and incorporation of suitable management style. The underpayment scandal of the organization is also highlighted in the essay laying prominence on the organization's poor ethical standards and pitiable leadership. Servant leadership being highly compliant with ethics, authenticity and innovation are suggested to the organization for addressing the issues. A servant leader ensures that power is utilised for assisting the employees and developing high-performance standards. A servant leader also makes sure that customer service associates are assisted and their actions are prioritised. The key recommendations involve improving the supply chain through robust training, better auditing systems, providing personal growth prospects and training opportunities.


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