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Reply 1

Hello Classmates, 

I chose the Problem-Solving Application Case for this week’s discussion thread: Empowering a Team of your Peers. By far, this may be the most challenging transition an individual will encounter during their place of employment. It can be viewed as a double-edged sword from the perspective of an individual work ethic is effective and beneficial to the organization’s purpose or potential animosity and resentment from peers because of an individual’s desirable work ethic. 

Define the Problem:  

The excerpt alludes to Jennifer’s exceptional work ethic and other qualities that made her a dynamic candidate for a supervisor position at an international pharmaceutical company. Throughout this case, Jennifer’s character is portrayed as self-motivated, self-reliant, and accountable for her production. As a supervisor, her mentality was still about self-gratification and not on the development of a team. “Being a high performer, she was determined to get all the details right. Therefore, when any element was late, done poorly, or just not up to her expectations, she stepped in and did it herself.” (Kinicki, 2020). Therefore, being promoted to supervisor was challenging because colleagues do not share her passion or zeal for taking care of business. 

Identify the potential Causes: 

Setting expectations leads supervisors to go above and beyond in every project or assignment. The bible states, “And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Now unto him, that is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all we ask or think according to the power that worketh in us, unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, worked without end Amen.” (Ephesians, 3:19-21, KJV). Once Jennifer’s reputation throughout the company is known as a top performer, it is expected that others under her charge will take care of business similarly, or Jennifer will get it done herself.   

Recommendation:  

First, I would have interviewed Jennifer to see if she was willing and able to accept the responsibility of the role as a supervisor. If possible, place Jennifer in another department where she would oversee brand new employees that do not have a rapport with her. According to (Arthur, 2008), “The best use of your employees’ abilities by becoming more aware of each person’s strengths and areas of requiring improvement. Second, you can isolate atypical employee behavior and performance; that is, you can identify outstanding performers and provide them with additional incentives and more challenging work assignments.” Thereby, Jennifer’s ability to influence and develop her team in matters she was proficient in is critical to her overall success in the leadership position. Also, it will alleviate additional facets and stressors from other projects that will require her undivided attention.  

References:  

Arthur, D., & Books24x7, I. (2008;2007;). The first-time manager’s guide to performance appraisals (1st ed.). AMACOM, American Management Association. 

King James Bible Online. (2018). OFFICIAL KING JAMES BIBLE ONLINE 

AUTHORIZED KING JAMES VERSION (KJV). Kingjamesbibleonline.org https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/ 

Kinicki, A., & Fugate, M. (2020). Workers at Amazon are Not Feeling Motivated. 

Organizational behavior: A practical, problem-solving approach (3rd ed). McGraw-Hill 

 

Reply 2

Empowering a Team of Your Peers

     Jennifer’s promotion to a management position came with new tasks, greater opportunities, and the responsibility to lead her former peers. During her first assignment, the new job proved to be a more difficult challenge than expected. The three-step problem solving approach can identify Jennifer’s problems in the role, the causes, and a recommended path forward.

Step 1: Define the Problem

     Jennifer quickly began to exhibit shortcomings as a new manager. Considering outcomes from the Organizing Framework, there are both individual-level and group/team-level problems. At the individual level, task performance and stress are problems. Jennifer’s desire is for all the tasks assigned to her and her team to be performed at a high level. In actuality, she is being stretched too thin, to the detriment of the quality of her work. Jennifer, like any other manager or employee, also desires a healthy level of stress that stimulates good work. Instead, she cannot help but worry about her performance, the stunted development of her team, and the perception of failure if she goes to her boss for help (Liberty University, 2022). A third individual-level problem is in Jennifer’s career outcomes. While she desires to prove herself for possible future promotions, she is actually damaging her reputation and that of her group.

     Beyond each of these individual-level outcomes, Jennifer’s most important problem is group/team-level performance. She desires a highly effective team that rises to the challenge of launching a new product. A gap exists because her team is not developing. A poorly developed team is a problem because as it stands, the team members lack accountability and are incapable of performing high-quality work (Liberty University, 2022). To make up for this underperformance, Jennifer is micromanaging, thus damaging her reputation and career.

Step 2: Identify the Causes

     The situation factor input of leadership is one contributing cause to Jennifer’s problem. She tries to do all the work herself rather than building up her team. Knowing she was an exceptional individual contributor, she relies on her own track record of high performance and does not allow other people to perform. This tendency demonstrates Jennifer’s imbalanced application of power. Relying on her expertise is a use of only personal power and fails to utilize the legitimate position power that comes with her new title (Kinicki, 2022).

     Other causes include Jennifer’s lacking individual-level processes of trust and psychological empowerment. First, by going back to redo or “fix” her employees’ work, she demonstrates that she does not trust them to do well, undermining their self-efficacy. By failing to promote psychological empowerment among her employees, Jennifer is denying them a sense of meaning and assurance that they make a positive impact for the company (Kinicki, 2022). Further, she is questioning her employees’ competence and stifling any self-determination they would otherwise have (Kinicki, 2022).

Step 3: Make Recommendations

     Moving forward, it is not in Jennifer’s best interest to dissolve her problem, which would likely entail stepping down from her management position. Doing so would erase her chances for future leadership promotions. Likewise, to resolve this problem would be only a short-term fix, whereas she needs a more substantial culture shift. An example of an insufficient resolution would be moving from her current domination management style with authoritarian power to a consultation style, wherein she consults her followers for decision-making (Kinicki, 2022). Instead, Jennifer should seek to solve the problem in two steps: move to a participation management style and psychologically empower all the members of her team.

     Shifting to a participation style, Jennifer will practice power sharing and joint decision-making (Kinicki, 2021). Given her technical experience and high level of involvement, a shift to a full delegation style is likely not attainable. An important change that is attainable is the recommended psychological empowerment of her subordinates. This may be achieved by first imparting structural empowerment through transferred authority, then by motivating her employees. Creating psychological empowerment is critical for Jennifer’s cause. Malik et al. (2021) explain that psychological empowerment creates team engagement and influence over project outcomes. Both are necessary to achieve innovation and creativity. Further, employee empowerment is the right recommendation from a Biblical perspective. Paul teaches, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves” (New International Version, 1978/2011, Philippians 2:3). The Christian leader should value the growth and success of his or her followers more than any individual achievement.

 

References

Kinicki, A. (2021). Organizational behavior: A practical, problem-solving approach plus Connect. McGraw-Hill.

Liberty University. (2022). BMAL 500: Organizational behavior. Week six, case study: Problem-solving application—Empowering a team of your peers.

Malik, M., Sarwar, S., & Orr, S. (2021). Agile practices and performance: Examining the role of psychological empowerment. International Journal of Project Management, 39(1), 10-20. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijproman.2020.09.002

New International Version Bible. (2011). Zondervan. (Original work published 1978)

 

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