Where would you place Ned Wicker’s team leadership style at the beginning of the case and at the end of the case?
I would place Ned Wicker’s team leadership style at the join/support stage at the beginning of the case. Most of the group’s decisions on request for proposals (RFPs) were arrived at through consensus amongst all the group members. Towards the end of the case, Ned’s team leadership style can be placed at the tell stage. This is because he started making decisions on his own with little regard to the professionals in the group. The meetings became shorter and more formal. Ned started imposing his ideas on the professionals for their endorsement and arguments began to characterize the meetings. Eventually, one of the best performing managers announced his departure.
Indeed, Ned drifted over to the left side of the continuum, probably even to the left of sell/coach. Was this an effective shift? If not, why not? How would you respond to Ned’s concern that the meetings were taking too long?
Ned’s shift to the left side of the continuum was unwarranted and ineffective based on the maturity and high level of professionalism that was evident among the members of the team he was leading. The team members can be classified to belong to the M4 maturity level due to their high degree of confidence while performing their roles coupled with their high qualifications. This was evidenced by their reaction when Ned started imposing his decisions on them and reducing time for debating and brainstorming on issues. The meetings started being riddled with arguments and performance started to decline in comparison to the initial performances. The behavior by Ned reduced morale and enthusiasm of the team members and eventually their productivity.
Ned’s concern that meetings were too long was hypocritical. The tasks for the group in deciding on the bid-no bid decision were fundamental in determining success of the organization and had blessings even from the company’s president. There were no complaints from any other quarters that the meetings were taking too long. Ned’s concerns can therefore be said to be farfetched and individualistic and could have feared the power most of the analysts had in decision making. Ned could have interpreted this as a threat to his job and started scheming on how to exert control over the group.
Given that Ned had been successful as a join/support leader to begin with, how could he have brought up his concern about meeting length and stayed with his erstwhile effective style?
Ned had developed various dyadic relationships with different members of his team. He relied heavily on the written reports from the in-group members. These are the ones with whom he had close relationships in terms of trust, loyalty and obligation. Ned knew that as long as he has incorporated views of the in-group in his decisions, there was no need for the meetings to be lengthy.
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What was it about the members of this team and its development from the outset through Ned’s efforts that predisposed it to a more collaborative style?
Each member of the team was given an authority to come up with personal suggestions on RFP reviews. Every member was then accorded adequate time to defend his suggestions and convince the team. The members then brainstormed the best alternatives and the situation worked perfectly. This gave each member a sense of control of the team and not just Ned the team leader. The members also developed sensitivity to the contributions of their counterparts which they considered to be also correct regardless of presumed variances. The team members developed high regard for public dialogue (Raelin 2010) where their personal values and beliefs were known by their colleagues.
Do you believe that this team could benefit from having Ned delegate full responsibility to it; if so, would Ned have worked himself out of a job?
The team would benefit immensely if Ned fully delegates full responsibility. This is because the team members are analysts and have demonstrated high maturity levels in the performance of their tasks. Most of them are conversant with their responsibilities.
Ned will not be jobless because he will take on the more crucial roles which are planning, directing and encouraging the team members (Hersey, Blanchard and Johnson 2008). Planning entails setting new goals and tasks for the team. Directing ensures that the team is on track while encouraging involves taking initiatives that boost morale of the team members.
How does the situational model of leadership you explored play out in the Ned Wicker case?
Ned Wicker fails to correctly apply the right leadership style based on the level of maturity demonstrated by members of his group. Instead of moving from successful join/support leader stage to delegation stage, he reverses and moves towards the more authoritarian tell stage. It leads to disgruntlement within the team members and some start leaving the company.
How do you think the readiness level of the people under your management (Hersey, Blanchard & Johnson, 2007) shape your leadership style?
Leadership styles are influenced by the level of skills and expertise in the followers. Availability of adequate skills determines, to a large extent, the confidence and commitment the followers will portray on the job. These characteristics of the subordinates will determine the level of trust that a leader has on them. Leaders must change their leadership styles based on the maturity levels demonstrated by the subordinates.
How do approaches and models of leadership and the Ned Wicker case covered this week influence the development of your Critical Action Learning Project?
The approaches and models have demonstrated the need of having an understanding of the team or groups that one may lead. They have shown the need for a leader to accommodate various leadership styles based on the prevailing situations. Development of such situational leadership knowledge allows for effective decision making which leads to organizational success.