CASE STUDY ON LEADERSHIP SKILLS:
A Leadership Challenge:
Mary Herzen felt lucky to be hired for the supervisory position in the Patient Services Depart-ment at North side Hospital. She had lost a similar job at Central Hospital three months earlier. Chris Sapiro was Mary’s boss and had conducted the selection process. It took him five months to fill the position as a result of the internal job-announcement and job-interviewing procedures. Two employees in the Patient Services Department had applied for the supervisory job: Juanita Ramirez, 32, who had been in the department for eight years, and Sue Williamson, 26, who had less experience. Both were rejected because they were not seen as strong enough to be promoted. Chris told Mary about this when he met with her on Mary’s first day on the job. He suggested that Juanita might be a problem and told Mary to handle it the way she saw best. He then took her to the department, introduced her to the staff, and left her to settle in. Later that day, Mary held meetings with each of her new employees. The meeting with Juanita turned out as predicted: she was defensive, uncommunicative, and noncommittal. For example, Mary wanted to learn what Juanita’s job duties were, but could not get adequate replies. Finally, in exasperation, Juanita began arguing that it was Mary’s job to tell Juanita what to do. Mary replied that they would have problems if this was as well as they were going to communi-cate. Juanita then told Mary that she had not been promoted because she was Hispanic, and accused the hospital of discrimination. She began to cry and said she was not going to answer any more questions. Answers to Case Questions
1. Should Chris have informed Mary about the internal applicants before offering Mary the job?
Yes. It is important to give job applicants all relevant information about the job for which they are applying. This is especially true for information that might be considered negative. The bulk of research in this area makes it clear that “realistic job previews” are very important for creating the most favorable initial job conditions. 2. Was meeting with each employee as part of Mary’s orientation a good idea? Although Mary’s idea was backed by good intentions, problems resulted. In general, individ-ual and group meetings both have advantages and disadvantages, and whether one would work better than another for a new supervisor is a matter of personal judgment. One obvious advantage of a group meeting is that certain messages from the new supervisor can be given to everyone at the same time. Another advantage is that the presence of a group has the potential to pressure employees into opening up and sharing what is on their minds. In Mary’s situation, a group meeting could have been especially helpful in this regard, creating an environment in which Juanita felt additional pressure to be more forthcoming. It should also be noted that a new supervisor can also follow up a group meeting with individual meetings, thus combining the two methods.
3. Evaluate the agenda Mary used. How could it be improved? Again, the general intention was appropriate, although the execution was not as good as it could have been. The purpose of the introductory meetings is to initiate dialogue. Mary needed to share information as well as receive it. A more suitable agenda would have Mary share information on such matters as her personal background and goals, her leadership style and practices, her priorities for the near term, and how she would like to work with the employees. She should ask each employee for informa-tion on their job duties, where they stand on projects, any particular problems they are experiencing, and anything else they can tell Mary that would help her supervise
CASE STUDY 2:
Right Boss, Wrong Company
Betty Kesmer was continuously on top of things. In school, she had always been at the top of her class. When she went to work...
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