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Effective Leadership Case Study Sample

Effective Leadership

Case 1

Jordan was a kind of a manager, who could slightly break company’s rules if it meant retaining a loyal customer. He encouraged employees to think independently, especially when it concerned customers’ needs. Jordan’s managerial style mostly lay in building friendly and inspiring atmosphere among his staff as well as in giving rewards and praises for their enthusiastic work. It resulted in an increase of the revenue, low employee turnover, and productive work of a highly motivated staff. Jordan offered his employees higher wages, granted them some promotions with increased responsibilities, provided reward management, etc. This loyalty to employees resulted in the store’s success. After Jordan was transferred to another store, Jan Whitall was appointed to the position of the pet store manager. Jan introduced a completely different managerial style. She was strict, driven by discipline, and highly committed to the rules. She changed a compensation policy and, thus, reduced salaries and provided penalties for employees for violating the store’s return policy or for giving customers a sample of a new product to try it before purchasing. She did not mind that it could be reflected in a disloyal attitude to customers and then result in their loss. It also influenced the inner working atmosphere negatively. Employees started thinking about changing the job.

Discussion

The ethical issue of this case is that despite Jordan’s managerial politics was correct both from the professional and moral point of view, and it is obvious that he applied principles of both effective leadership and effective followership (Daft & Lane, 2015), his district manager disapproved him. However, as a leader, he demonstrated the ability to build a positive, individualized relationship with each follower and to provide greater benefits to the customers and the organization. He managed to bind people together for a shared purpose through connecting to them on a personal level. Jordan demonstrated respect, friendliness, and loyalty towards his subordinates and thus, contributed to the effective teamwork and cooperation. As a follower, Jordan displayed his effectiveness in demonstrating the initiative, independent thinking, and the ability to take responsibility and to solve the problem without direction. He managed to establish and develop trustworthy human relations between customers and the store staff. From this case we can see that Jordan was successful in ruling the staff as well as in managing the work and productivity of the store.

Another manager, Jan Whitall, thought differently. On the one hand, she was a disciplined and responsible manager, who followed the rules, but, on the other hand, she has destroyed everything that was built before, including friendly atmosphere, motivation to work productively, and the desire to work under her orders at all. She did not mind that such a managerial tactic would certainly lead to the loss of loyal customers and, as a result, the loss of revenue.

In conclusion, this case is very important as it shows that being an effective manager means succeeding in being both an effective leader and an effective follower at the same time. An effective manager should not just blindly follow the prescribed rules, but must develop a global vision of how to achieve the company’s goals in a way that allows being both people- and task-oriented. In other words, a good manager like a good jurist should follow both the letter and the spirit of law as well as take decisions according to the demands of each unique situation he/she encounters.

Answers

1. As far as I am concerned, I surely would prefer working for store manager Philip Jordan. He provided a loyal policy towards the employees, created and supported comfortable working atmosphere, introduced reward management such as a bonus system, etc.

The managerial style of each leader directly affected the atmosphere of the pet store. Thus, the managerial style of Philip Jordan was ‘democratic’ and was based on developing a trustworthy relationship with each subordinate. Jordan created a productive and friendly environment that determined the effectiveness of the employees’ work. Jan Whitall’s managerial style was exactly the opposite of Philip Jordan’s one. She was rather autocratic and her ‘concern for people’ was on a very low level in contrast to the ‘concern for production’ (Daft & Lane, 2015). It negatively influenced the mood of employees and working atmosphere in general and resulted in the loss of both employees and customers.

2. Adam Gerrit was certainly an effective follower as he possessed an independent critical thinking, was active in the organization, and demonstrated a high level of engagement. He was not afraid of informing his leaders about his ideas and beliefs, needs, and constraints (Daft & Lane, 2015). Personally I admire such characteristics of the followers as openness, diplomacy, straightforwardness, trustworthiness, and the ability not to escape problems but to solve them. These are the characteristics that I want my followers to display when working for me. I want them to align themselves with the purpose and the vision of the organization as well. When having a clear vision and goals, “followers can be a resource of strength and support for the leader” (Daft & Lane, 2015, p. 205).

3. Despite Philip Jordan did a better job of managing down, in contrast to Jan Whitall, who did a better job of managing up, if I were the district manager I would prefer Philip Jordan for a position of a store manager. He possesses such important for leaders ‘entrepreneurial traits’ as enthusiasm and a future vision (Daft & Lane, 2015). He is independent, action-oriented, and concerned with innovation and creativity. Moreover, his style of leadership contributed to the well-consolidated team environment that impacted and uplifted employees’ motivation and positively influenced their work attitude. In its turn, it positively affected the trust of clients and promoted a steady increase of the revenue level.

Case 2

The BMW’s winning of an account was a result of a coherent work of a global advertising agency team, selected and led by the MBA Kurt Lansing. The team consisted of four high professionals, and each of them represented a certain area of the business. Thus, Brad Fitzgerald was a creative director, Trish Roderick performed account services, Adrienne Walsh worked as a production manager, and Tyler Green was responsible for brand strategy. On the way back to the main office, there were only three people in the car, as Fitzgerald had an afternoon flight and went to the airport. The team members started to discuss how the presentation had passed. They discussed that it happened so that the last set of slides, which described the global campaign, were first seen by the team only during the presentation. Those slides were added by Fitzgerald upon his initiative just before the event, but he did not inform his colleagues, although he had time to do that. So his team members were shocked and puzzled and could not understand why he behaved this way, neglecting their opinions and acting as if he worked on his own. Fitzgerald’s individualized behavior was expressed not only in this situation. For instance, he was the first, who informed the team leader Kurt Lansing about the winning, and did that without letting his colleagues know. The team leader Kurt Lansing, in his turn, was aware that a team collaborated well and coherently and marveled at its success. He was convinced that he succeeded in building trust and shared vision inside his team.

Discussion

From the case we can see that there is a team conflict because of disruption of the team cohesiveness. It might seem that it is a ‘task conflict’, as it concerns performing the task, but there is no “disagreement about the goals to be achieved or the content of the tasks to be performed” (Daft & Lane, 2015, p. 310). Thus, it is rather a ‘relationship conflict’ as it refers to the “personal incompatibility that creates tension and feelings of personal animosity among people” (Daft & Lane, 2015, p. 310). The central ethical issue in this case is that one of the team members, Brad Fitzgerald, did not take into consideration the ideas of his colleagues and thus, did not show respect for their opinions, despite the fact that everyone in the team performs his own role to achieve common goals, and the final product is a result of their not individual work but cooperation. Although Brad possibly added an element that influenced the success of the presentation, he behaved not correctly from the moral point of view. The responsibility for that situation completely rests on the team leader Kurt Lansing as “leaders carry a tremendous responsibility for setting the ethical climate” (Daft & Lane, 2015, p. 169). It was he, who selected those people and united them into one team, and that is why he had to keep the focus on the work of his team members and to pay more attention to their interpersonal relations and effectiveness of their cooperation.
In conclusion, this issue is crucially important, as the violation of ethical norms in the staff causes the disagreement among the team members that may negatively influence the working atmosphere. A team leader is responsible for the team work effectiveness and performance. Therefore, his duty is to build a positive interpersonal relationship within the employees, to create an equitable and favorable work environment, and to motivate the team for coherent cooperation.

Answers

1. In Daft and Lane we found that “team cohesiveness is defined as the extent to which members are attracted to the team and motivated to remain in it” (2015, p. 302). This definition allows me to suppose that among the factors that affected this team’s cohesiveness was a low level of team unity because of a lack of motivation for a team interaction. Not all of the team members considered themselves parts of a single unit, because they had different values, and were not committed to the team work. Not having a clear understanding of the professional roles and responsibilities may directly influence the team’s cohesiveness as well. All that factors are a result of ineffective work of the team leader, since it is his responsibility to guide team members’ behavior and to inspire team cohesiveness.

2. “Traditional trait and behavior theories assume that a leader adopts a general leadership style that is used with all group members” (Daft & Lane, 2015, p. 52). If I were a team leader, I would rather be using the mixture of both compromising and collaborating styles in handling a conflict in order to involve Fitzgerald into the team more. I would express my appreciation of his work first. Then, I would accentuate on the importance of collaborative problem-solving, as each team member is a necessary link in a chain and we all have the same goals. To foster better relationships among all the team members, I would promote team unity by imposing ethical norms that represent what I expect from the team. I would clearly define team members’ roles and competencies, provide them with professional coaching, and all level support.

3. As a team member, I would try to do my best to find a solution for the issue and to handle the team conflict. With colleagues I would discuss the importance of engaging in a negotiation with Brad Fitzgerald. Only then it is possible to resolve a conflict and to strengthen the team unity. That is why I believe that staff members should inform Fitzgerald about their concerns and convey their message to him. In my opinion, dialogue is an important tool for achieving mutual understanding. Thus, team members have to discuss Fitzgerald’s deeds with him, ask him the questions to reveal the true motives of his behavior, and clarify the issue. They have to share their thoughts and feelings with him as well.

According to Daft and Lane, among other things, each team must be competent in “collaborative problem solving, communication, and conflict resolution” (2015, p. 52). That is why I believe that at first team members should have a constructive talk with Fitzgerald and try to settle the things without informing their team leader. Only if it does not bring the desired effect, may it be reasonable to involve Kurt Lansing in solving the issue.