Leadership Conflict Case Study Samples

Published: 2021-06-21 23:44:29
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Category: Management, Workplace, Goals, Job

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Working environment and interpersonal communication build on the essential part of motivation and job satisfaction. Individuals find themselves under a lot of pressure, once they work with those, whose management and leadership styles contradict with their own perspective on working relationships or are very different from the attitude and approach of their previous manager. The situation, considered in the case study illustrates classic conflict of perspectives and differences in the personalities, which were not solved and are currently building on the complex internal relationship issue on high organizational level.
The case dwells upon the leadership style of George Latour, the CEO of the company and the relationships, which this individual built with the new Marketing Director, Shelley Stern. The case presents two perspectives on the situation and illustrates the growing frustration of both individuals with each other’s job and professional approach. The objective of this document is to analyze the situation, leadership style of George and look at the possible solutions, which Shelley could find to resolve the relationships issue and start feeling comfortable doing her job.
George’s Leadership Style
It is evidenced from the case that George gives a lot of attention to the work of his new marketing director and from the perspective of Shelley, she is being micromanaged. At the same time, the situation should be seen from both perspectives and before driving this conclusion one should be able to recognize the drivers behind the over-attention, which Shelley has been receiving from George. The reality shows that the two individuals did not sit down once for a mutual feedback, and neither they discussed the objectives and expectations from each other prior diving into complex and dynamic working environment. That said; the work-in-progress proves to contradict with the expectations of George and causes frustration in Shelley, who does not have clear understanding of the goals, which she has in front of her. The point that should be made here is that leadership and management style of George may or may not be appropriate, and the decision about the approach to managing an employee´s job should always be taken on the basis of discussion and mutual agreement. It is evident that each individual and situation is different, and there is no fit-for-all management and leadership style. In order to be able to achieve an understanding and ensure that employees work efficiently and contribute towards the productivity of the company, George must be flexible in his leadership style and interpersonal relationships approach.
An analysis of the situation allows drawing several conclusions. First of all, there are several mistakes, which both, George and Shelley made with regards to building their relationships. Secondly, it is not possible to conclude, whether the approach to leadership, demonstrated by George is right or wrong as there are limitations in the case, which prevent us from definite conclusion. Rather than trying to understand whether the approach is appropriate, it is critical to understand the mistakes, committed by the both opponents (Goleman, 2004). When George and Shelley started to work together, this process should have been built upon clear goal setting and performance appraisal discussion. Given the fact that both individuals at this point in time are frustrated with expectations, it is possible to conclude that this discussion never took place. The drawback of this is that neither George nor Shelley has any starting point to address their feelings and explain the causes of their frustration. It is clear that Shelley´s approach to work is different from George, and the lack of trust and measurable goals for Shelley makes George question every decision, which she takes. The situation is dubious. On one side, George failed to set the direction and explain the manner in which Shelley´s job will be measured from the start. On the other, Shelley did not make enough effort to understand the expectations of George and measure her capabilities and approach against the one, adapted in the company. With the above in mind, it is possible to argue that George´s leadership style is not appropriate as it does not meet its primary goal – develop Shelley and make her a high performer at her job. Even considering the fact that Shelley does not do her job well, George does not leave a chance for his direct report to show her abilities and bring the best of her to the position, which she recently assumed. The situation, which the case touches upon with regards to George´s management and leadership style with Rich Hannon demonstrates that it is not a style, which is wrong, but the situation and the individuals, which are different and, thus, demand differentiated leadership approach (Heifetz Laurie, 1997). One of the major responsibilities of George, therefore, is to learn to adapt and shift between the leadership styles in order to find the best approach to develop and improve employee´s performance.
Potential Solutions
Leadership and management are responsible for people development, and George should be able to recognize that his primary objective is not to punish and find the mistakes in work of others, but to develop these individuals to be able to delegate and trust their opinion and contribution. George clearly has an issue to delegate the tasks, and he will continue looking for mistake, in Shelley´s daily work, unless the expectations are cleared, and priorities are renegotiated. There are many ways in which Shelley could approach the situation. But in any case, the starting point is an open discussion and recognition of the issue, which was created between the two. It is critical that George and Shelley sit for a feedback session and try to leave the meeting with a clear set of objectives, measurable and deadlines for Shelley in a comprehensive performance appraisal plan. The discussion on the expectations will help George control his tendency to micromanage as he will have a tool to limit his “anxiety” and focus on important elements of the job. Additionally, performance appraisal plan will help George to really evaluate the quality of Shelley´s job and take his focus from detail to the helicopter view of her work. This shift, at the same time, will provide Shelley with an opportunity to work more independently and deliver the result, rather than focus on making everything perfect on the way to it.
It is important to note that manager – subordinate relationships are mutual, and employee has to be able to have a tool for manager evaluation, similar to one, on the basis of which she is measured herself. With that in mind, the key for successful leadership practices for individuals like George is the openness and approachability. The case suggests that Shelley is not open for the feedback, and she gets easily irritated with the micromanagement. The reality is that she will not be able to change everything, and she should also learn to pick her battles and give feedback to her manager.
Heifetz R. and Laurie D.L. (1997). The Work of Leadership. Harvard Business Review, 1997. Retrieved 16 June 2014, http://www.alban.org/uploadedFiles/Alban/Consulting/Learning_Events/Heifetz%20-%20The%20Work%20of%20Leadership.pdf
Goleman D. (2004). What Makes a Leader. Harvard Business School, January 2004. Retrieved 17 June 2014, http://hbr.org/2004/01/what-makes-a-leader/ar/1

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