Approaches to Leadership

Approachesto Leadership

Organizationsuse different approaches to controlling and coordinate the process ofwork in the organization. Different managers employ different methodsthat help to keep the organization on its toes. The changing businessenvironments require a dynamic team of leaders who can move with thewaves and create a relevant work environment to take cushion theorganization from threats while at the same time taking advantage ofthe opportunities. There are several approaches that managers useconcerning the prevailing conditions. Different cases in anorganization require the managers to apply management practices thatwould have the most positive impacts on the organization (Daft,2015).

Thispaper is going to look at the various management practices used by BPOil and Gas Company. The company has interests in gas and oil mining(Corkindale, 2010). Due to its expansive state, it has a larger groupof managers than other medium size organizations. The differentmiddle-level managers have different roles, and they get theirdirection from the central management. The BP Company’s leadershipinclines to goals of the organization that helps it to expand byfollowing a set of guiding principles. The primary objects of thecompany’s management are to comply with the rules of differentoperation ground, moving the company to financial resilience andcultivating an empowered workforce. However, the company has variousmanagement flaws that may inhibit its future prospects of expansionto be a global leader in the industry. This paper will look at theseflaws and their possible effect on the operations of the company.

TheCompany’s Background

BPOil and Gas Company is the sixth largest oil company in the world interms of assets and returns on capital. The pioneers of the companyset it up in 1908 as Anglo-Persian Oil Company with operation inBritain only. Its management looked forward to establishing a globalcompany, and they cultivated the dream with impactive strategies. Asof 2014, the company operated in 80 countries. The managementcommitment towards achieving the objectives saw the company hit aprofit of 4 billion dollars as at 2012. During the same period, thecompany’s assets amounted to 284 billion dollars. Currently, thecompany produces an average of 3.2 million bar every day and employsmore than 85,000 workers (Summerhays &amp De Villiers, 2012).

Thecompany operates in the direction of honoring and complying withguiding rules of the individual countries where it has interests. Themove helps it to be at ease with the governments of the day in manycountries. Secondly, the company has had sustainable dividends on theshares, and it strengthens its goal of financial resilience. Theemployees of the company are some of the best trained, and they usesome of the sophisticated equipment in the industry (Broder, 2011).The management structure of the company is a reflection of its vastinterests in the industry. The position in the organization have aneffective architecture, and they are instrumental in achieving theobjectives if the company. The allocation of duties to the differentemployees as per their qualifications has a genesis from the topmanagement to the low-level employees who are on the ground. For sucha big company, delegation is a key factor in the management. Also,various situations in the organizations instigate the management toemploy an assorted array of methods to deal with the arisingproblems.

Analysisof the Leadership Styles used in the Company

TheTelling Style of Leadership

BPCompany has a lot of oil wells around the globe. The company putstogether a team of experts who execute their tasks under the guidanceof an experienced to ensure that everything falls into place. Themajor wells that attract a big team of engineers and scientistsreflect the aspect of composing a multidimensional team to bring allthe required expertise on board. It is during the new explorationsthat the company’s leadership uses the telling style of leadership.When the company identifies a new niche, it does not shift its entireexperienced staff to the new well it sources new employee with theright skills to fill the positions. A good example is when thecompany started operating the wells in the Gulf of Mexico. The teamcomposed of new engineers and a bunch of other company’s engineersdrawn from different parts of the world (Corkindale, 2010).

Theleader at the Gulf had to acquaint the new employees with thecompany’s best practices and develop he required attitude for thework. However, the management must ensure that employees get all therequired contextual skills in a gradual process. Failure to implementthis stage successfully has adverse effects on the development ofautonomy in the employees (Daft, 2015). The operation team at BPMacondo represents a good telling structure whereby the managementinstituted different leaders for the different operations. Forexample, Sims became the lead engineer to orient the newprofessionals in the field and guide oversaw the other operationsteam. Such a breakdown enables the management to identify anyavailable gaps in their team (Michele, 2011).

TheSelling/Coaching Style

Theselling type of leadership comes in when the employees show sign ofgetting along with their tasks. Their understanding of the tasks athand as well as the company’s practices is vital. Aftercontemplating on the decisions made for them by their leader, theycan draw conclusions and provide some suggestions that relevant withthe company’s regulation. At this point, the leader may giveinformation with some room for the participation of the employee(Daft, 2015).

Oneof the goals of shell BP is the development of employees’ characterand expertise. The selling type of leadership has a flaw in thecompany, and this was evident in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.According to Corkindale (2010) the tragedy happened after the pipeson the seabed burst releasing millions of barrels of oil into thesea. The implications of the spill were too much for the UnitedStates government, and they also equated it the 9/11 terrorist attack(Corkindale, 2010).

Duringthe period, the media and government agencies observed the inabilityof the people on the ground to work together simply because theyhardly understood their role in a crisis. The employees were expectedto show some autonomy in giving opinions. The engineers on the groundgave very lame opinions that would not have solved the problem to itsclosure. The Gulf leadership had not been instrumental in developingthe capacity of their employees. Management professionals also notedthis, and they agreed that the company is facing a serious problemwith the management.


Atthis stage of leadership, the leader regards the employee as wellversed with his responsibilities and expectations (Simpson,2012).There is no need for close observation and direction since theleader has already developed the right attitude and approach towardswork. However, the relationship between the leader and the employeeand also the ability to work in a team needs development (Daft,2015). Most employees may not be getting along with the workmates, orthey may be having a distant relationship that may not suffice thesharing of information.

Aspart of its employee development program, BP Company exposesemployees to various functions and equipment. The various teamstasked with different activities cultivate teamwork and aparticipatory problem-solving mechanism (Schultz et al., 2011).However, the idea seems not to be fully developed in some parts ofoperations. The team at the Macondo well is an explicit example ofthis firm of leadership in the organization. Sims, the head ofengineering and Guide who headed the other operation section crashedseveral times in the course f their duties. Their tussle affected theoperations in the area since they could not agree on who hadauthority over the other. Although this may seem like a crash ofroles, it boiled down to the inability to put together amultidimensional team to work together (Summerhays &amp De Villiers,2012).

Thecompany’s leadership had to reorganize the structure at Macondo andlook for someone who could head both the engineering and theoperations section. The leadership had failed to develop teamwork anda strong relationship of mutuality between the employees. Having onehead for both sections may interfere with close observation andcreation of a strong relationship between the employees and the teamleaders.

DelegatingStyle of Leadership

Inthis form of leadership, the management devolves its functions tovarious employees having trust that they have acquired the rightskills to perform the work and that they are fully conversant withthe company’s policies. The basis of this form of leadership is toempower employees to act on behalf of the company’s leadership(Simpson, 2012).

BPOil and Gas Company work through delegations into the differentcountries of operation. In all of the 80 countries, the company hasrepresentatives who oversee the work and reports to the headquarters.However, this method requires competent staff. The inability ofemployees to act prudently in this stage depicts a poor molding inthe prior stages. The management should not also leave everything inthe hands if the employees especially when there is an emergency.Giving them the autonomy does not distance them from seeking theassistance of the top leadership. After the BP oil spill, thereseemed to a breakdown in communication between the team on the groundand the CEO, Tony Hayward (Corkindale, 2010).

Whencommenting on the incident, he appeared to be very clueless about theissue to the least expectation of the many. His delegates on thefield appeared to have informed very little about the incident. Theinformation they passed to him included measures to spin around theproblem instead of heading them directly (Broder, 2011). Manyprofessionals questioned the competence of the leaders on the ground.Evidently, Tony Hayward cannot be present in the hundreds of thestations that the company has all over the world. However, with theappointment of the right team with the required skills to representhim, such a miscalculated move could not have been observed. If thecompany continues to have inefficient and overly assuming team, themit may make encounter another tragedy that would ruin its reputation.

Theabove leadership styles are all applicable to the company. However,as stated earlier, the company does not complete the formationprocess in each stage. As seen from the two incidents at Macondo andthe other in the Gulf of Mexico, the leadership of the company shouldintensify the means by which it develops the employees (Hoffman &ampJennings, 2011). The delegation phase is a critical stage for thecompany since it relies on the information given by the variousdelegated leaders in the different parts of the world. The observedpatterns of failure may be detrimental to the company’s future.


BPOil and Gas Company’s leadership may need to work out a plan ofemployee development through the four stages such that they releaseautonomous group to head the operations in the fields. The currentpractices are not fully satisfying in terms of the results they bearand as observed from the incidents at Macondo and in the Gulf ofMexico, the delegated leaders are not fully competent. To preserveits future and to continue expanding without any major losses, thetop leadership should focus on the gaps identified and work towardsdeveloping a competent team, both in skills and leadership.


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Michele,C. (2011). Leadership Lessons From BP Oil Spill. StanfordBusiness.Retrieved from

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