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Leadership Styles

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Dwight D. Eisenhower said, " Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it" (1954). Eisenhower's quote speaks directly to the way in which leaders should lead their teams focusing on motivation. This lack of motivation proves to be the fatal flaw of the Absorb team. In reviewing the case, there are two entirely different leadership styles by Max and Chip of the Lumen and Absorb teams respectively which ultimately affect the basic function of each team.

Max's, leader of the Lumen team, approach to leadership seems to be driven by inclusion. Based on the diary entries in Exhibit 3, each member of the team feels appreciated, needed, and responsible for overall success. Within this team, successes are celebrated amongst all, which according to Allen "had a strong motivating impact on me" (Amabile & Schatzel, 2004, p. 13.) Max empowers his teammates to be creative and Burke acknowledges this in his initial observation that "...members are exited about their work, brimming with thoughtful questions..." (Amabile & Schatzel, p. 4). The Lumen team appears to be intrinsically motivated which is proven by their creativity in tackling problems and in creating new inventions. Also worthy of noting, it seems that everyone on the team is relatively happy in his or her current roles.

Chip's leadership style seems to be quite different from Max's. Chip is a bit detached from his team, which shows in the way in which he communicates with them. Jim mentions frustration, in Day 1 of the analysis, regarding Chip's approach in meeting with him about his work schedule and project plans. According to Jim and the rest of the team, Jim's approach seems non-genuine as if he's simply asking to fulfill an assignment and not to truly understand the team's workload. Also noticeable in Chip's management style is his impeccable ability to micromanage and undermine his teammates intelligence. Dave notes, "...it makes me feel that my skills and intuition cannot be trusted" (Amabile & Schatzel, p. 17). For Chip this should be an eye opening statement from an employee of 37 years, which also introduces another potential de-motivator for Dave as to why he is in an entry-level role after 37 years. Its no surprise Dave is demotivated and looking at other opportunities.

On the Absorb team, there is no indication that any of the teammates are fulfilled or excited about their work; they essentially hate their job. One could assume that Chip manages by Theory X (cite?). Assuming that all employees despise their work and need to be directed, Chip sees no need to empower them, care about their wants and needs, or congratulate hard work or success. This is a direct contrast to Max's Theory Y approach, which yields better results. Considering an alternate motivation theory by using Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs (cite?), Chip isn't accomplishing the basic physiological need while Max's teammates seem to have reached the self-actualization level. Both of these theories prove major flaws in Chip's management style. Chip's teammates even question his leadership and speak to his lack of overall courage regarding the progress report presentation.

Another major faux pas from Chip was the way he handled delivering the information about a teammate potentially leaving the team. He completely overlooked sharing this information with Helen first who is the technical supervisor. Instead he notified Hector who, concerned about the increased workload, went to his supervisor, Helen, for clarification. This could cause potential issues for Helen and could lead her to her own assumptions, as there is concern about further headcount cuts. Chip political concerns seem only to be outwardly focused, as he has no idea of the political issues he is creating in his own team.

Employees need motivation, encouragement, and empowerment from management especially during tough times such as work force reductions. Crutchfield saw an 18% reduction in the work force over about 6 months. With the project teams ranging in size from 4 to 11 people and the Lumen and Absorb team both only having 5, once could infer that these teams saw as much as a 50% decrease in staffing. Based on this assumption, the teammates workload could've double in six months with potential future headcount reductions to occur. Where Max's team feels needed and appreciated, Chip's team feels disposable and unimportant.

Burke has many options to improve the situation on the Absorb team in the short term and long term. A leadership change should be a strong consideration as Chip's management style is a strong contributor to the team's poor performance and motivation level. Unlike Max, Chip has not inspired his team, supported their autonomy, gained their trust, helped them focus on a common vision and leveraged their strengths effectively. As all the other CCEs exceed the Absorb team in measured intrinsic motivation, moving any of the other proven team leads in to replace Chip would likely provide the faster route to improving the situation. Chip has failed in many aspects and it will be difficult enough for him to learn how he should be leading, let alone reinvigorate the intrinsic motivation of his team. Should there be no option but to leave Chip in place, Burke should immediately get in the weeds with the Absorb

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