Unit IV Case Study
Columbia Southern University
Unit IV Case Study
In this case study, there is a complete disconnect between leadership and subordinates. There are many different conflicts in this case and each conflict is detrimental to the entire organization in its own way. Low morale, dereliction of duty in the form of blatant disregard for established work schedules, confusion between workers about which duties fall to each employee, and the potential issue of some form of harassment occurring within the team are all devastating issues and must be overcome for production to increase to within standards again.
Motivation: What is the current state of motivation for employees, and what can you do to improve their motivation?
The current motivation level for employees is directly reflective of the morale in the team which is low. To put it mildly, this team is in absolutely disarray. With so much disagreement and chaos, it’s important for a new leader to step in and take control. There is a clear disconnect from the written standards that the employees are meant to be following. They have little desire to do more than show up and receive a paycheck. At some point in the past, bad leadership can be considered as the direct cause of this issue. Based on the fact that there are an abundant number of issues which are shared by all the team members, this team needs what all teams need, good leadership.
Leadership: What can leadership personnel do to positively impact teamwork that eventually leads to better customer service?
The very first thing that leadership must do is establish standards. Employees need to know what is expected of them. If they are left to create the standards on their own, they will most likely choose different standards than their peers. They will also most likely set their own standards lower than they should be. High standards are usually difficult to achieve, therefore, it takes leadership or someone with high standards to pull those with lower standards up to their level. Individuals need to understand the value of the person to their left and right. Teamwork is one standard that should be put in the forefront of discussions. Often, simply helping employees to understand how others fit into the big picture can help them respect each other more. Also, as employee’s standards improve, their performance of their duties improve. When this occurs they will have more respect for themselves, their position, their duties, and the customers they serve.
Resolving conflict: How can employees approach resolving conflicts with one another in order to maintain a positive teamwork dynamic?
Employees can take many different approaches when trying to resolve conflicts with their peers. Good team members recognize the need for cohesion within the team. They also understand that there is always a chance of conflict when working closely with others. This understanding helps good team members predict and, therefore, be ready for conflict before it arrives. This recognition will help them react to conflict in a more productive way. With good teamwork and an elevated maturity level, team members can resolve issues with direct communication. In most cases, the best way to fix an issue is to approach it head-on. When approaching team members, it’s important to understand each individual and how they react to conflict. If the team member doesn’t handle direct conflict well, it may be a good idea to send them an email before the eventual face-to-face meeting. Email is a good way to say exactly what you mean, but allows the message receiver time to react privately and then collect themselves before addressing the issue. This can be a big help when trying to avoid conflict or the possibility of hurt feelings during confrontation.
Resolving conflict: How can the employees approach resolving conflicts with customers?
Resolving conflict with customers requires patience and the ability to see things from the customer’s perspective. It also takes a complete understanding of the products that are being sold and the methods in which they are being marketed. Customers can literally become upset for anything; they can feel their service wasn’t good enough, they paid too much, their food was too cold…etc. Depending on the product or service, there could be a multitude of issues arise. While there are many ways to upset customers, they are typically upset with one thing; the product they purchased isn’t what they expected. When this happens, customers come to employees or customer service representatives with the assumption that one of three things will happen; either they will be reimbursed, the product will be repaired, or the product will be replaced. As long as the employee has permission to do one of these three things, the meeting should be cordial. But, if the employee is unable to satisfy the customer for some reason, the customer may become upset. At this point the employee will typically defer to a manager or supervisor. These individuals may have more power to keep the customer happy. While deferring to a manager is an easy out, it may not always be an option. In those cases, the best thing to do is stay calm and be respectful. It’s very important for the employee to understand that the customer’s actions can be based on their own actions. A smug smirk or role of the eyes can be all it takes to really set a customer off. Knowing this and avoiding any mistakes such as those can, and usually does, lead to a calm situation with a mutually agreeable resolution.
Teamwork: What types of activities would help the team progress through the five stages or team development? (Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing, Adjourning)
As this confused group of employees approaches the team building process, it’s important for them to understand the new standards of conduct. Once these standards have been laid out, the employees should be trained on the five stages of team development. Learning theses stages beforehand will help them understand the transitions between each phase and, therefore, help them overcome personal obstacles as they arise. Since the team is already dysfunctional, it’s important to instill in them that this will be a new team with new results.
The initial stage of team building is the forming stage. During the forming stage, each employee should discuss and resolve any former issues with one another. A good exercise for this particular group might be a PUGSS model. The PUGSS model is a great tool to help keep conflict conversations focused. These employees should be adult enough to put history aside and embrace the future of the team and its potential successes. It’s also important to know that during this process there will be turmoil on occasion; all team members should expect this and be prepared mentally to handle these difficult situations of conflict. This stage is called the storming stage. Employees won’t always get along or agree on every issue. As long as they are aware of these potential situations, they should be able to move past them quickly; though it may require leaderships or group influence on occasion. After this, comes a period of calmness, a period called norming. This is where the team begins to work better together and really begins to put the past in the past. New healthy relationships should be formed at this time and everyone should really be getting along and working together nicely. The result of these healthy relationships leads to the beginning of the next phase in team development, performing. The performing stage is the day-to-day grind that each employee endures when performing their assigned tasks. The pride in working together and accomplishing their own goals leads them happily into the adjourning stage where they function well as a team and accomplish the company’s goals, just as leadership expects them too. The adjourning stage brings closure to projects in most cases, but in this case represents completeness to the process of transforming a group of dysfunctional individuals into a model cohesive team.
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Dyer, Dyer, & Dyer (2013). Team Building. Proven Strategies for Improving Team Performance. Fifth Edition. San Francisco. Jossey-Bass.