1. Describe Alan’s leadership style during the flood, and evaluate how appropriate it was for the leadership situation? During the flood Alan exhibited a Management by Exception-Active leadership style. This leadership type behavior “keeps people and processes in control” (Education, 2010), by monitoring and controlling followers through forced compliance. This may not seem like the most effective way to lead people. However, in the scenario it mentions that “Alan had everybody’s attention, but nobody seemed to be moving” (Yukl, 2013, p. 183), Kirk even strolled over to him with a smile on his face like nothing was wrong. So by using this type of leadership style Alan was able to reduce any uncertainties his employees may have had in knowing their task at the time, and also ensured that the important goal of saving whatever they possibly could from the flash flood was obtained. 2. Identify effective behaviors by Alan after the flood subsided?
BF skinner said “Fat, happy rats don’t run mazes.” (Education, 2010) You’re probably thinking what does this have to do with the auto shop case study, but Skinner realized that a fundamental principle of motivation is to use rewards to reinforce desired behaviors if they occur. After the flood, Alan recognized the importance and the need to reward his employee’s for their contributions, so he personally thanked each person and gave them the morning off. The next day during their break Alan also used positive reinforcement when he gave all of the credit to his staff. Alan even “went to all the trouble of pointing out personal contributions, no matter how minor each person made.” (Yukl, 2013, p. 183)
3. How should Alan behave towards his employees in the future?
This is a hard question to answer. In this case study we watch Alan who may at times be a bit of a “laissez-faire” type of a leader jump to a very controlled autocratic type of leader during the flood. As we learned from Yukl (2013) in order to be an effective leader one needs to learn how to adapt their behavior to the changing situations. I think in the future Alan should try to apply the team leadership approach according to the Blake Mouton model. With this type of leadership style there is “a high degree of participation and teamwork, and the leader is characterized as open-minded, flexible, and one who inspires involvement.” (Holmes, 2013) It will also be important for Alan to remember that certain styles work well in certain situations. So while he is working on firming his daily leadership approach it will also be important for him to use Yukl’s guidelines for adaptive Leadership. These guidelines will help Alan to be more flexible and adaptive to his situation, so he can learn to effectively use all five styles of Blake and Mouton’s model when the situation may call for it.
4. Describe Alan’s basis of power he has within his company/organization. Which powers does he effectively use or not use?
Power is the “ability or potential to influence decisions and control resources.” (Education, 2010) There are two types of power, position power and personal power. Because Alan is the owner and manager of this shop this automatically gives him authority or legitimate power. According to Yukl, (2013) “authority involves the rights, prerogatives, obligations, and duties associated with particular positions in an organization. “ This basically means that Alan is able to have power simply because of his title. Another type of position power that Allan uses is reward power. We see Alan use Reward power when he grants everyone the morning off. When it comes to personal power, in this case study Alan also uses Expert power. This type of power suggests that “leaders gain power from the ability to influence through their education, experience, and job knowledge.” (Education, 2010) The case study clearly reflects this with Alan’s seven years owning and managing the shop, as well as when it reflects his ability to answer any questions the mechanics may have while working alongside them.
5. Refer to Tables 8-9 on page 210 and 8-10 on page 211. Pick three of the influence tactics to describe Alan’s leadership effectiveness
The two tactics that I can see Alan using throughout this case study are Pressure and Collaboration. In the beginning of this scenario I saw Alan using collaboration. We saw Alan offer to show people how to perform requested tasks when he would join alongside them. In the scenario Alan also offered to help solve problems, “or show how he would have handled the problem.” (Yukl, 2013, p. 182) Throughout the scenario we also noticed he would provide necessary resources for his employees. (Yukl, 2013, p. 210) The second tactic that I noticed Alan used came in the second half of the case study during the flood and that was pressure.
“Pressure tactics include threats, warnings, and assertive behavior.” (Yukl, 2013, p. 206) When Alan was approached by Kirk about the flood being no big deal, Alan quickly interrupted him and told him to “listen and listen good! That he and the rest of the crew were going to do exactly what he says and they were going to do it now!” (Yukl, 2013, p. 183) Asserting very dominate behavior that the employees had not seen in him before. As for a third tactic it is hard to find one in my opinion that fits completely. I can see how by Yukl’s explanation of Ingratiation that some of the points may fit this scenario. For instance after the flood was over Alan too the time to thank each person individually for their efforts, the next day he even took the time to praise people individually for their past achievements.
Education, T. N. (2010). USAF Enlisted Professional Military Education Procedural Guidance. Maxwell AFB: Department of the Air Force. Holmes, S. (2013). Blake and Mouton Leadership Grid. Retrieved Nov 17, 2014, from Make a Dent Leadership: http://www.makeadentleadership.com/blake-and-mouton.html Yukl, G. (2013). Leadership in Organizations Eighth Edition. Boston: Pearson.