Leaders are the key drivers who ensure the proper utilization of organizational resources by making the right decisions. While good leadership can take an organization to the peak of success the opposite can cause a disaster!
If we talk about leadership, it is the act of guiding a team or individuals to achieve a certain goal through direction and motivation. Leaders encourage others to take action to accomplish certain tasks.
In Human Resource Management, academics talk about various leadership styles suitable such as authoritarian leadership, participative leadership, delegative leadership, transactional leadership, transformational leadership, etc. for various situations.
In the RMG and Textile industry of Bangladesh, when everyone is concerned about manufacturing value-added products to keep the momentum of growth constant, it is a dire need to focus on innovations. To make valuable textile and RMG products with available resources at the least possible cost, there is no alternative to focus on research and development.
In this situation, the Research and Development departments have to take the lead. Instead of replicating samples provided by the buyers, we have to develop products that will create appeal to the customers.
But there is a challenge, how the industry leaders could facilitate the development of innovative products and processes by their team members? What kind of leadership style could bring the best output from the human resource of the R&D team, the prime player of innovation in an industry?
We approached Zanibul Huq, Manager, R&D at Impress-Newtex Composite Textiles Ltd. with these questions. According to him, in many cases, the leaders have to be authoritative to ensure quality and productivity. But, to solve complex problems related to research and development of new products, the consultative and participative leadership approach gives a great output.
“The task of the R&D department is very vast, it requires a comprehensive knowledge of the whole textile value chain from a good understanding of knitting, dyeing, and finishing to consciousness about the market trends to the depth knowledge of raw materials and fabric structures to be a good leader here.” Zanibul Huq said.
“I include my team members in taking complex decisions to support me with their innovative ideas, especially from the fresh and enthusiastic minds. It helps me to make the best decisions to meet buyers’ requirements and also make my team members feel valuable.” He also added.
Sakibur Rahman, Product Development Executive at Square Textiles also feels that when a subordinate is given the opportunity to take part in decision making or given the opportunity to solve a problem by himself, he feels more confident and can give the best effort to solve the problem.
“Authoritative leadership could be a good solution for the subordinates who do not want to take challenges to develop something new but not for those who do not want to limit their thoughts and want to work to make new things happen.” Sakibur Rahman said.
The product development professional also thinks that the main focus of the R&D departments should be on developing new appealing products rather than just replicating and for this the people working in this field should be given the freedom and facility to think to substantiate their own ideas and concepts.
“Though facilitating the young-fresh minds with the freedom of work or engaging them in decision making could cause some lags in the development process, in the long run, it could bring a big reward for the industry.” Sakibur Rahman added.
As Zanibul Huq had many examples of such benefits which helped him to be more efficient by reducing some of his workloads. He often gives his subordinates the independence of selecting a dyeing process to bring a certain shade to the fabrics and in most cases, he got benefited from the proper utilization of their human capacity.
Sakibur Rahman feels confident when he is relied on and given an opportunity to participate in problem-solving. On the eve of his professional life, he got the responsibility to develop a complex product that some experts failed to develop, and when he developed the product by engaging a number of factories, he got such confidence that helped him to deal with many such issues later.
It is very important for the leadership of the industry to cherish their fresh-young employees to make them competent for future challenges which ultimately will bring more business to them and consultative and participative leadership could be an effective tool to cherish the innovative minds according to many studies.