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Case Study: Management Style

By:   •  February 19, 2017  •  Case Study  •  1,569 Words (7 Pages)  •  1,289 Views

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Case Study #1: Management Style


Background

Mark is a newer manager that was hired in a department that has seen a large decrease in performance over the last year. There was no overlap in Mark’s start date and the previous manager’s last day of work.  Mark was given the instruction to increase performance and made 30, 60 and 90 day goals to achieve his supervisor’s directive. The goals were to address goal performance at 30 days, learn policies, procedures, review personnel files and hold staff meetings at 60 days, and meet and greet staff individually at 90 days. After 30 days, Mark did not see improvements on his team. He feels detached from the team and has received four resignations.

Problem Identification

The primary or real problem in this case is lack of motivation by Mark’s team to perform. The team was obviously motivated in the past, since the department was highly regarded by the hospital. The question is, why did a team, with such a wonderful reputation, suddenly have a decrease in performance over the last year. What changed in the last year? One option may be that the previous manager, “checked out” knowing that she was going to retire within the next year and her team felt the lack of leadership. Another option may be that healthcare is constantly changing and is asking more and more from its employees.  Maybe this department was not equipped to handle change well.

The secondary problem is the actual decrease in performance. Though this may seem like the primary problem, it is really only a symptom of the illness that is afflicting Mark’s team. If the team was inspired to increase their performance, they would. There is something that is broken within the team and its Mark’s job to figure it out. There are some contributing issues within the scenario. Mark is a novice manager. It is hard for any manager, seasoned or not, to take over an already established team and increase performance. It doesn’t help that Mark is not knowledgeable within this role. If Mark was a bit more experienced, he may have realized that his 30, 60 and 90 day goals are backwards. A leader needs to gain the respect of his/her employees. Mark did not factor this into his plan. If he is new to the department, what does he know about increasing their performance without listening to the team. The first thing he should do is address and listen to his team. Mark’s lack of communication is what is causing him to feel disconnected to the team. If a new person came in and announced that they were going to fix you without actually knowing the department, why would you consider them part of the team? In addition, the pressure from Mark’s supervisor to change performance by the end of the year is not helping. 30 days is an unreasonable amount of time to change the culture of a department with new leadership. Beside the dilemmas listed above, Mark is losing four employees. This will make is very difficult to motivate employees since they will need to handle additional work until new employees are hired. This can take months.

Also, another contributing element that may or may not be important is the lack of interaction between Mark and the previous manager. Mark was not given the opportunity to gain any insight on what issues were occurring within the department and what the previous manager’s perspective was. Instead of a problem, this may be considered an opportunity to address problems with a fresh set of eyes. After all, the previous manager was the leader of a team that had a drastic decrease in performance. Maybe she was missing something that Mark will be able to notice.  

Decision Making

The key decision-makers in this case are Mark and his team. Mark has to decide how to lead a team to increase performance and the team has to decide whether or not to perform. Mark needs to figure out what style of management would be most effective for his current team.

Mark’s strength is his fresh perspective. He is new to the department and may be able to point out some areas that need improvement objectively. He does not have any previous loyalties or know the past history of the department. This is often a great set-up for success since he is able to think outside the box. Mark is also eager to perform well. He already made a plan for success. This shows that Mark has initiative and is committed to increasing his team’s performance. Mark’s weaknesses may be that he is a bit naïve to think that he could increase performance within 30 days of being hired. Though, Mark had great intentions, he did not first listen to his team and see what obstacles they are facing that may be decreasing their performance.

The strengths within this team is their positive reputation in the past. Beside the last year, the team was regarded highly. This is a benefit because Mark knows that the talent and ability to enhance performance is there. Also, the knowledge of the team is a strength as well. Though, the previous manager is not available for input, the team members are still available, for the time being, for input. They are the individuals that are performing the daily tasks that represent the department. The team’s weaknesses may be their lack of momentum to improve. If the team is not motivated, then any energy exerted by Mark will be wasted. They are also facing a staff shortage until new employees are hired. A department that is understaffed is hard to improve since most employees are just trying to get the work done and not necessarily thinking about quality.

Resolution and Evaluation

Here is a revised version of Mark’s 30-60-90 day plan:

  • First 30 days: Get an understanding of department staff and procedures.
  • 60 days: Get an understanding of performance goals, and team’s current reputation. Identify areas that need improvement. Create committees based on identified areas.
  • 90 days: Develop and implement plan to increase performance.

When starting a new position, there always needs to be an orientation period. During the first 30 days, Mark needs to understand and get orientated to his new department. He can accomplish this by spending a day shadowing a senior employee in every position that he oversees. This will not only familiarize him with the process and procedures within the department but give him the opportunity to pick the brains of employees that have been within the department for a while.  He can ask them to identify areas they think need to be improved as well as ask their opinion about their decrease in performance. By listening to his employees, Mark is showing them respect and is demonstrating that he has a lot to learn from them. This relationship will benefit the entire department. By training Mark, the employees will have a stake in Mark’s success and will work harder to achieve goals for the department.  Also, if he notices processes that don’t seem to be effective he can ask the history of the process and understand why it hasn’t been changed. Mark should also hold staff meetings to keep the entire team in the loop. He should introduce himself and let the team know his qualifications and background. Also, he should be transparent and let the team know that performance has decreased and get input from the group about what can be done. Mark can see positive leaders and pessimistic naysayers emerge in this setting. Staff meetings are also a great time to give kudos to exceptional employees for a job well done. Showing appreciation to staff creates a positive morale and can increase motivation.

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