The role of the leader in the team
Margo Santelli is the head of the group operations and she has four unit managers who are responsible for carrying out sales and handling client issues. From Margo’s point of view, the four managers were chosen because of their qualifications. She does not see the need for monitoring the unit managers because she assumes that they know what is expected of them.
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According to Dubrin (2010), senior managers like Margo expect the managers to forward any problems to them and that’s why she does not pay attention to the information provided by Laura. The unit managers refer to her as a macro manager because they perceive her to be concentrating on them instead of chasing after customers, which is their main role. Ignoring her role of monitoring the unit managers can fail because the managers are not explicitly answerable to anyone.
Margo can become an effective leader by establishing reliable means of communication with her managers. This will help her identify where things are going wrong like in the case where one of the unit managers is planning to exit the firm and get employed by Margo’s firm competitor.
She should have established a friendship with the unit managers so that they can share their problems with her. This is because in as much she managed to get the best talent into her firm she has to retain that talent since losing such talent to a competitor can ruin her firm. She should spare some time for interacting with the managers. Certainly, some managers do not know her well and she is not acquainted with them. By ignoring Laura’s counsel it seems that she is not a good listener and that is a bad quality in a manager.
The rumors about the groups lagging in management duties imply that the managers do not have someone to motivate them and this is evidenced by the response provided by one of the managers who had called her to inquire about customer leads. A good manager should guide the juniors where necessary because if they are left on their own they may not deliver the expected results if the seniors are not willing to cooperate (Dubrin, 2010).
The role of delegation
From the case, it is clear that Margo is a delegating leader because she trusts the managers in her group to decide and work on their own. Relying on this type of leadership alone is not enough for the group since some of the managers at the municipal bond group are a little more responsible or experienced in their field of operation. Besides, Margo lacks several relevant skills of effective leadership, including participation, understanding others, giving clear directions, and showing appreciation of the managers’ contributions.
In this light, Laura should meet Margo on another occasion and explain to her the importance of situational leadership. This is because relying on one type of leadership does not improve the group’s performance. Three out of the four managers are dissatisfied with Margo’s style of leadership. Thus, Laura should advise Margo to apply other leadership styles, such as the telling leader, the selling leader, and the participating leader.
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Being a telling leader will be helpful to the first and third managers since they are inexperienced and lack confidence, and therefore they require directions on what to do. Also, a selling leader is what the first, second, and third managers need. Margo should persuade the managers to “buy into” the work. It seems that the managers lack direction and guidance – Margo should consider clarifying all the decisions made. Finally, Margo should be advised to be a participating leader to build a good relationship with the group members. This is what the managers are lacking from their leader, particularly the fourth manager.
However, achieving the proposed styles of leadership about the situations might imply that other responsibilities are to be undermined. For instance, the time spends with major customers as well as meeting other senior executives can be reduced for the sake of group stability. But, this cannot affect the functioning of the group because one of the managers is tasked with customer service, and senior executives are only concerned with the performance of the group.
Laura did the right thing by questioning Margo’s leadership because she only did it due to the concerns that she has towards the firm. This shows that Laura has a strong sense of belonging and thus cannot sit back and watch as things go wrong. If she had dared to inform Margo about her main reason for wanting to engage the managers in dialogue, Margo would have stopped her from visiting the unit managers, and in the long run, Laura would not have identified where the problem lies within the organization. She just had to take the risk to save the firm from being ruined. If Laura was ignorant like Margo, the rumors would have spread to the other managers and it would have been too late for both Laura and Margo to save the organization from losing talented employees.
Dubrin, A.J. (2010). Leadership: Research Findings, Practice, Skills. (6th Ed). Mason, OH: South Western/Cengage. Rochester Institute of technology. ISBN-10: 0547143966 ISBN-13: 9780547143965.