Chapter 5 – Situational Approaches – Consistency and Leadership
Eileen Nolland works for a small company that employs twelve people who all work in the same office. She is responsible for various duties ranging from answering phones and entering orders into the system to tracking inventory and updating client files. She performs many of these duties as a back-up for other colleagues. Over the years she has worked herself into a position as “the go to person” for her boss, Jack Barns. Eileen has made quite an effort to gain Jack’s confidence. She handles the sales staff commissions and employee benefits, and makes most of the purchasing decisions for the office. She is often found sitting in Jack’s office, doing her daily work and chatting with Jack about both work and personal issues.
The rest of the staff resent Eileen’s connection to Jack, the boss. Many of them feel that she gets preferential treatment. Eileen does work hard, but she also has a way of setting her own hours. She is often overheard complaining about how tired she is after having to stay late at night to fix some filing error. Jack is often the one to inform other employees that he has sent Eileen home to get some rest. He often makes comments such as, “She worked so hard last night, and she won’t be any good today. I told her to go home and sleep. Be back tomorrow and start fresh.” Eileen also makes herself out to be a hero by spending time comparison shopping for things that the office needs. She then presents the information to Jack so he can see how much money she saved the company. Jack often consults with Eileen first when a major decision affecting the entire office needs to be made. Her co-workers are rarely granted this knowledge and only see Jack consulting with Eileen. Several co-workers have talked amongst themselves wondering what Eileen says that keeps Jack asking for her input. They do not think she is more knowledgeable about the clients or company than any of them.
From Jack’s perspective, Eileen is invaluable to the team. She always has necessary data to consider, is quick to point out benefits or potential hardships to clients, and almost always presents a solution. He wishes more employees approached their work the same way Eileen does. In fact, he often wonders why there sometimes seems to be hostility directed toward Eileen.
Answer the following questions by applying the concepts learned in Chapter 5. Also, conduct literature reviews on the subject of discussion and use to support your case study answers:
How could Jack’s perception of Eileen’s performance affect his leader behaviors when interacting with her?
How could her co-worker’s perception of Jack’s leader behaviors toward Eileen affect their own performance?
Chapter 6 – Cami Machado and Listo Systems’ Digital Information Services Team
A recent incident involving hacking and data theft prompted the implementation of a new data security system at Listo Systems. A “Black Box” system will be installed on every PC in the company and will not only affect the way data moves but also who has access to sensitive files. Nearly everyone at Listo Systems will be doing things very differently once the Black Boxes are in place.
Cami Machado has worked with Listo Systems for eight years. She is involved in a variety of projects related to “traffic” – the receipt and delivery of clients’ jobs. Her work also involves the training and support of the technical staff at Listo Systems. Cami has expressed interest in spearheading the implementation of the new “Black Box” data security system. Because she has effectively managed traffic flow at Listo for years, she is excited about the opportunity to move into this critical and visible new position. Her responsibilities would be similar to those that she has had in the past, but the implementation of this new system will dramatically affect nearly every aspect of Listo’s service. The technology is different from what she has used in the past, and the project’s scope is much larger.
Cami has an excellent track record of implementing new hardware and software. She is looking forward to leading this project and the new business opportunities it will help create. However, with this radical change in traffic flow, Cami will have to deal with challenges arising from “people issues.” Many technical staff members think that this change is unnecessary. Staff artists worry that it will hinder the creative process. Cami feels confident that she knows how to handle the scheduling and transition aspects of the new security system, but is worried about dealing with employees resisting the change. She is also concerned about losing key creative staff to other agencies where they won’t have to put up with all this “Black Box technology.”
As we look at effective influence, we find that people have different needs depending on the “task at hand” – leadership should be task-specific. Additionally, effective leadership depends on a number of other influence variables ranging anywhere from identifying desired outcomes to considering the needs of the follower.
Answer the following questions by applying the concepts learned in Chapter 6. Also, conduct literature reviews on the subject of discussion and use to support your case study answers:
1. What are the causal variables in this situation?
2. What are the intervening variables in this situation?
3. What are the outputs or potential output variables in this situation?
4. What is “the task at hand?”
5. If you were Cami, where would you want help?
6. If you were Cami’s boss, where would you focus your time?