A Day in the Life of Alex Sander: Driving in the Fast Lane at Landon Care Products

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Case Study 2 - A Day in the Life of Alex Sander: Driving in the Fast Lane at Landon Care Products

1. What behaviours by Alex are having the greatest impact on the 360° data provided by her co-workers? Which of these behaviours are positive and which are negative?

This case study provides valuable insight into the way emotions and soft skills or its absence can affect motivation and leadership capabilities.

Alex Sander is the newest and youngest product manager at Landon. He had been very successful in the 2 product releases he has been in charge of, nevertheless, he seems to be lacking the ability to lead and direct his team to complete the work assigned to them.

Negative Behaviours

Alex is easily upset when team members do not complete tasks the exact same way he requested or as fast he requested. In fact, repeatedly Alex takes on the tasks of his team members himself because he believes that he can do a better job and perform faster than they can. Moreover, Alex does not feel the need to direct his team.

Alex, as an ambitious person, should be aware that to move up he has to coordinate people. Therefore, in order to become a good motivator and leader, he should be aware how emotions play into the way people work and how well they perform their jobs. The emotion that Alex identified as a powerful motivator for his team was fear. As a result, he uses his bad temper to instil fear into those he works with. In fact, that mechanism works perfectly on the spur of the moment, however, that behaviour has 2 problems: the performance booster effect is lost within 1 or 2 weeks and, on the top of that, the frequency of its usage causes demotivation among Alex team workers.

Alex doesn’t possess many soft skills, he does not take others’ feelings into consideration when making decisions and delegating assignments. This was particularly observable when Alex put down a senior sales analyst - Betsy Garrison - and dismissed her from the task he simply takes over, saying that it would take longer to explain the task than to complete it himself. He has no patience for his team members when it comes to having to explain himself and will simply take over a task rather than have to explain exactly what he wants from his team. This kind of behaviour makes Alex’s team members feel that he does not appreciate their work and that he considers himself better than them.

Alex also fails to take into account the differences in personality, abilities and interests within his team members. He expects every one of his team to keep up with him, working at the same fast pace that he does. Nonetheless, not everyone has the same involvement, skills and talent. When Alex comes up with an idea or decision quickly, his team members may feel ignored and undermined, as suggested in his 360º feedback.

Alex ignores his team members’ needs for approval and fails to recognize the work of those around him. If they do not complete a task to his standards, they fall subject to his temper and are belittled to his hard criticism. In general, people have a need for approval and respond well to positive reinforcement such as praise from their managers. This is a good motivational tactic that Alex should learn if he wants to get the best work out of his teams in the future.

Finally, Alex does not listen to feedback. He told his neighbour that there would ready know. He should analyse his 360º feedback and learn from it. Nevertheless, he believes that his outstanding performance as a product manager (solo) is enough; he does not feel the need of soft skills at work. Moreover, he says that it is his style to shake things up and keep his team on his toes, and sees fear as the ultimate factor.

Positive Behaviours

Alex is a very proactive person, he very driven, committed to his work and gets things done.

He is a fast learner; he continuously identifies knowledge gaps and makes the effort to gain that knowledge.

He is never frozen by...
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