All through their existence, organizations of all kinds are pressured to increase their performance levels and productivity or else risk being written off. This is especially true in the present day environment which is characterized by high levels of competition. Whereas the potential of groups and teams is monumental and crucial, and as such indispensible to the organization, sometimes the leadership ability of an individual is responsible for turning a failing organization around.
This paper shall analyze the success of the Cub Scout Pack 81: an organization which was on the verge of disbanding six years ago but today boasts of the largest membership of any in the Lancaster/Lebanon council. In this paper, I shall show that good leadership by Cub Master Mike Murphy has been responsible for turning the organization around. I shall do this by highlighting the effective leadership styles that Mike Murphy implemented so as to turn the failing Cub Scout Pack 81 around.
Leadership, a Definition
Leadership refers to a process through which one person uses the help and support of others towards achieving a particular goal or task. The importance of leadership in organizations cannot be overstated. Strong leadership is not only desirable but is also essential to the success of an organization. This is because strong leadership enables organizational goals to be met. For one to be a truly effective leader, he/she must posses some leadership skills. Only then can one interact better with his followers and hence foster productivity.
Murphy’s Good Leadership
An exemplary leader should ensure that his team has a sense of purpose and is working towards the achievement of some organizational goals. He/she should also set out to generate and sustain trust and confidence between the members of the organization.
Bennis (1999) asserts that this will result in the promotion of hope and confidence amongst the organizations worker force. Before Mike Murphy took leadership of Cub 81, the pack was on the verge of disbanding and the leader then cub master was trying to pass his job onto “any parent foolish enough to take the helm of a sinking ship”.
This demonstrates that the then cub master had to confidence in the pack’s ability to succeed. Murphy however had confidence and trust in the ability of the pack to succeed. Murphy managed to get followers involved in envisioning a brighter future for the organization. These qualities heightened the levels of optimism within the organization all the while boosting the Pack 81’s morale and guarantying success.
Creativity is one of the desirable leadership traits that Mike Murphy demonstrates. In the course of the last few decades, creativity and innovation have progressively become the defining factors of successful and failing organizations. Shavinina (2003) declares that innovation has become paramount to the survival of organizations as organizations are pressured to increase their productivity and deal with the competition.
Murphy showed creativity when he came up with a program that was able to attract the most interest in the annual presentation. This novel initiative resulted in more interest being given to Pack 81 hence increasing the success of the organization.
Mike Murphy made use of the transformational leadership model in his role as Cub Master. According to the transformational leadership theory, a transformational leader is one who “looks for potential motives in followers, seeks to satisfy higher needs, and engages the full person of the follower” (Burns, 1978, p.173). Murphy states that everyone was made to understand that they wanted a successful program and that to obtain it; everyone had to participate so as to achieve the success.
Transformational leadership is characterized by solving problems and aiming for long-term results (Holbeche, 2006). Murphy fulfilled this by aiming for a successful program and ensuring that Pack 81 always aimed to win something in the Scout Expo every year. This moving from short term to long term aims resulted in motivated as kids and their parents worked towards the fulfillment of the goals.
An effective leader is not only able to steer his/her followers towards achievement of goals but also identify with the needs of his followers and show genuine concern in their affairs. Alimo-Metcalfe and Alban-Metcalfe (2001) assert that transformational leaders put follower’s needs over their own leading to followers’ admiration and respect for their leader.
This increased the influence that the leader has over the followers’ therefore increasing leadership effectiveness. Murphy identified with the parent’s want for their boys’ to be in a successful program and set out to achieve one when he took over as cub master. Murphy empathizes with the organizational members as is evident from his statement that when they don’t win an award, they are all disappointed.
As has been stated in this paper, leadership entails the usage of help and support of other relevant personnel in the organization so as to attain set objectives. Leaders are therefore invariably bound to work with and through other members of the organization (Sashkin, 2003).
Murphy recognized this and stated that he depended on the parents and the boys to get things done. The Cub Master believes that if the energy in the boys is unleashed, there is nothing in the Cub Scout Program that Pack 81 cannot achieve. By working with the parents and boys, Murphy was able to achieve success for the organization.
Motivational skills are among the core attributes that a leader must posses. Motivation is defined as a “process of stimulating people to action to accomplish desired goals” (Kondalkar, 2002, p.245). Bearing in mind the fact that the leader is tasked with marshaling the organization’s resources to accomplish some organizational goal, it can be rightfully stated that part of the role of the leader is to motivate his followers to achieve certain desired goals.
In the case of the Cub Scouts, the boys needed to be motivated so as to participate more in the organization and hence bring about the success of the club. Murphy took up the role of motivating the scouts to aim towards winning awards. According to Murphy’s success once achieved results in even more success.
This paper set out to give reasons as to why Cub Master Mike Murphy has been so successful in turning the organization around. This paper has demonstrated that for the inputs of individuals in an organization to be of optimal impact, there must be a strong leadership to steer the individual and group effort in the right direction.
In particular, the turning around of the failing Cub Scout Pack 81 has been credited to the qualities and characteristics of good leadership that Murphy possesses. The adoption of an effective leadership strategy by Murphy has also been cited as having contributed positively to the success of the scout organization.
Alimo-Metcalfe, B. & Alban-Metcalfe, R. (2001). “The Development of a new transformational Leadership questionnaire”. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 74, 1-27, 2001.
Bennis, W. (1999). ”The Leadership Advantage.” Leader to Leader. Retrieved from: http://www.leadertoleader.org/knowledgecenter/journal.aspx?ArticleID=53
Burns, J.M. (1978). Leadership. New York, NY: Harper & Row.
Holbche, L. (2006). Understanding change: theory, implementation and success. Butterworth-Heinemann.
Kondalkar, P. (2002). Organization effectiveness and change management. USA: PHI learning Pvt. Ltd.
Sashkin, G. (2003). Leadership that matters: the critical factors for making a difference in people’s lives and organizations’ success. Berrett-Koehler Publishers.
Shavinina, V. (2003). The International Handbook on Innovation. Elsevier.