Leadership Case: Understanding The Importance Of Leadership

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This case is a great example to understand the importance of leadership in various situations. The first part describes a normal situation, and the second part describes an unusual crisis situation. The case illustrates how effective leaders adapt their behavior to the changing requirements of the situation, while continuing to show concern both for task objectives and interpersonal relationships. The case also demonstrates that an effective leader need not be a "heroic figure" that knows everything and solves all the organization's problems without any assistance. The repair tasks are mostly self-contained, and little coordination is needed between mechanics. Thus, little planning is needed except to determine the work schedule, assignments, …show more content…
They are confused by his directive behavior because it is so different from his usual leadership style. Once the mechanics eventually recognize the danger, they will be intrinsically motivated to avoid flood damage that would threaten their jobs. However, there is little time to try to persuade them that there is a crisis. When he sees that the mechanics are not responding to his instructions, Alan becomes much more assertive by giving direct, authoritative orders in a command voice, and using appropriate nonverbal behaviors such as direct eye contact and a stern expression. Alan falls back on his position power (as owner-manager) to influence subordinates. He is firm but does not use threats or insults. The flood crisis is novel to Alan as well as to the mechanics, and he cannot think of everything himself. Once the mechanics begin following his directions, Alan is receptive to good suggestions about other things that need to be done to avoid damage to the shop or the cars. Thus, while being very directive, he is not entirely autocratic in deciding how the group should deal with the problem. Even in a crisis, he is a more effective manager by being receptive to good ideas from …show more content…
Nevertheless, this type of behavior carries the risk of undermining his good relationship with them. Alan’s actions after the crisis are appropriate for maintaining a good relationship. He shows his appreciation for the mechanics' efforts by personally thanking them. He gives them the next morning off as a reward for volunteering to stay late and help with the cleanup. When they return to work the next afternoon, he makes a speech to give them credit for successfully avoiding serious damage from the flood. He gives recognition for each person’s contributions, no matter how small. He does not mention that he was right and the mechanics were wrong about the danger of a flood. Thus, Alan helps the mechanics perceive the crisis as a joint effort in which they all played important part, rather than trying to portray him as a heroic leader. There is no reason for Alan to change his typical style of leadership in non-crisis situations. Some students mistakenly interpret his final comments as indicating that Alan needs to become more directive. Such a change would undermine his effectiveness. Alan will have more expert power as a result of his successful
Interpretation of the crisis, and employees are more likely to believe him and carry out his directions immediately in a future

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