Which of the work roles do you primarily take on a team?  

Which of the work roles do you primarily take on a team?  

My primary role in the team is being a “Teal Lead” that is very close to “Task Leader”. As my responsibilities include making sure other team members are being able to do their assigned task without impediments. And I need to be hands on as well with everything as a team we are supposed to deliver.

 

Are there any circumstances in which you tend take on a different role?

In my last project I have taken role of an “expeditor” often. Especially when we were meeting to decide what needs to be done and development team took the discussion to “how” it needs to be done. We had to break the discussion in the interest of time and request them to meet offline and discuss or set up a separate meeting.

In IT team we all play role of “information seeker” at times. As we ask more question to understand user needs and challenges, so that we can find a work around or implement a better solution.

One might often find me playing role of a supporter. Being part of a team, we often hear about someone son or daughter falling sick, I try to note and check on them. I think it helps me build a better relationship with that person.

On the negative side, I had played role of “Withdrawer” too. When things did not go the way I intended them to go or when I did not like one or more of my team members, I tried to remove myself from team outing and such team building activities. I am definitely not proud of my behavior now.

 

How difficult or easy do you think it would be for you to take on a role different from your primary role?

It will not be difficult. When I say that I do not include roles like “monopolize”, “Self-confessor” or any sort of negative roles. Essentially any team works together towards achieving one goal or implementing solution, and problem solving attitude is essential to obtain success. And I have already experienced different sorts of roles in teams I have been part of. I have seen tension releasers, recorder (I have been recorder few times, couple of years back), gatekeeper etc. Although I might not be a tension releaser, I might not have a wit and I would not risk any joke that might offend someone else in team.  But, playing role of a recorder, gatekeeper information provider harmonizer or social emotional leader would not be a problem for me.

 

Explain your thoughts on the differences between a group and a team.

I define a team a group of people working together towards achieving same goal. And this group of people might have different sets of required skills to achieve the goal.

My example would be a soccer (European football) team. The team is formed with defenders, mid field, forwards and goal keeper. So group of people with different skill sets working together to win the match.

A group of people is different than a team in a way that they might work together or separately to achieve different or same goals

A political party can be an example for a group. Where each member might have same or different agenda and each on might work for same or different goals. And they do not necessarily have to work together.

Do you think you would feel more comfortable if you’d been with the company 10-years vs. 6 month

Portfolio Activity

 

Imagine you are part of a team involved in brainstorming name ideas for a new product. . You have been with the company for 6 months. This meeting consists of people of various ages, various internal departments and various levels of seniority and authority within the company. The branding team has been brainstorming for the last 2 hours, filling up pages and pages of the flip chart with innovative, imaginative names. The session consists of team members who are loudly, quickly, and assertively shouting out suggestions. In your estimation everyone else is generating many good ideas for this new product name.

What Do You Think?

  1. Given this atmosphere, would you feel comfortable jumping in and shouting out ideas? Why or Why not?
  2. If you were leading this team and saw a member not participating, what would you do? Is a lack of participation on the part of a member ethical and fair? Why or why not?
  3. Do you think you would feel more comfortable if you’d been with the company 10-years vs. 6 month

 

 

Given this atmosphere, would you feel comfortable jumping in and shouting out ideas? Why or Why not?

It is obvious that the meeting has a recorder and someone is taking down the ideas. But it is not very clear if there is a task leader. Now what I do in this scenario would depend on 2 factors –

If there is a mechanism to select the best name (by popular votes or something), if my role / designation is senior enough and if I have a good suggestion, I would not hold back. Sharing a good idea in an environment where people are throwing out ideas to be selected, should not be difficult.

The second factor would be my designation. If I were a trainee or analyst and if very senior people are discussing, I would probably not say anything. As an analyst or trainee, I would not be sure if my suggestion would be well received in a forum where different seniority levels are present. And when I would not be sure about the outcome, it is better not to do anything.

 

If you were leading this team and saw a member not participating, what would you do? Is a lack of participation on the part of a member ethical and fair? Why or why not?

If I were leading the team, then I would definitely ask the person if he has any ideas, I would be mindful that I don’t put him on the spot.

I would not conclude it to be unethical if a member is part of the team and he does not have to contribute. The person genuinely might not have any unique suggestion. Or he might be upset with his personal loss or something. As a leader I have a responsibility to find out if he is mourning a loss or if he is upset with something else. But this applies only if he is withdrawn. If he is withdrawn or genuinely out of ideas that need to be found out. And asking him, or talking to him in person is a good way to find out, what is going on with him. If he does not have any original idea, then it should be fine, if possible, the leader can give him some ideas or guide him about how he can get some ideas. Or if the leader finds out he is withdrawn due to some reason the leader should address that too.

Although if the leader finds out that the person did not speak up in the meeting because he is upset with another coworker or any other work related issues, then I would say it is not fair and may not be ethical for the person to hold back due to some conflict or issues.

 

 

Do you think you would feel more comfortable if you’d been with the company 10-years vs. 6 month

I think I would be more familiar with the work culture and the members in the meeting. I would know what they like or dislike better. So I would be way more comfortable in that situation. It is not only being familiar with people I work with, or understating the organization culture but about my own experience too. I would understand better about the expectation, and given I have an idea, I would not hold back due to seniority of others.

 

 

How could an organization capitalize on or overcome their employees’ perceptions?

  1. I am surprised by most of the responses and by the range of the given answers.
  2. Regarding the first question about price of the expensive car – the average is $85,455 and my answer was $35000

Average answer says around 13 people are in line, my answer was 20 people were in line

Overwhelming ballot measure means ~ approximately 82.1% votes, but my answer was 70%

Older boss would be 57.63 years old per the average, my response was 56 years old

According to the average ‘recently’ means 4.54 days, my answer was 15 days

 

  1. The answers were based on many factors such as age, economic and social background. But, for each question different thought processes or factors played role.

 

For the question “My neighbor just bought an expensive car. How much did it cost?” the answers ranged from $30000 to $500000. Here many factor might have played role, such as frugality, financial situation, neighborhood the person lives in etc. Say, if someone is really frugal, he/ she can consider a price to be expensive that might not be that high for a car enthusiast.

If someone is coming from a lower middle class background or not that much financially affluent, he/she might consider an amount to be expensive that is not a huge deal for affluent people

On the other hand if someone is coming from an affluent background and who owns a luxury car, might consider a car to be expensive only if it costs significantly more than his / her own car.

There might be one more scenario, for a real car enthusiast who might be ready to pay high / any price for a car he / she likes, in that case his / her definition of expensive might be really high for others.

For the second question “Several people were in line for the movie. How many people were in line?” the answers varied from 3 to 40. Again, another wide range. I would say, the factor is mainly “patience”, how long he / she is willing to spend in line to get movie ticket. Another possible reason could be where the person lives, if he / she is from a big crowded city he /she would be familiar with a longer line that a person coming from a small town or rural area.

For the third question “The ballot measure was approved overwhelmingly. What percentage of votes did the measure receive?” the answers varied – 70% to 95%. The possible reason might be experience of the individual with votes and how he defines “overwhelmingly”.

The fourth question was “My boss is an older man. How old is he?” and the answers were 40 to 70. For this one the classmates own age and the boss’s age he / she has or had, played a big role. But mostly his / her own age would impact how he / she defines “older man”.

Fifth and the last question was “I recently saw an article in the paper. How long ago did I see it?” and the answers anywhere between 1 to 15 days. My answer was 15 which is the maximum number of days mentioned. I believe it depends on the person’s memory. How well he / she can recall the article and if he / she can recall the date or day or week he / she read it. Another reason might be the person reads a lot and may lose track of from where and when, focusing on “what” more.

 

Given the information above what part could individual perception play in an organization’s culture and their ability to promote change?

Individual perception can play a huge role in an organization’s culture. Given a position in administrative or in finance department, a person who is not frugal or does not value money that much can be wasteful or promote a wasteful culture. As HRs the people might not promote any environment friendly company policy such as carpooling or incentive to buy electric vehicle and so on. On the other hand, a person who values money, can focus on cost cutting and may promote environment friendly policies that do not cost the organization any money, such as cutting down on paper mails and usage of emails or phone calls or cutting down on color print outs or offering employee discount on electric vehicles

Someone with no or very limited patience might not feel comfortable in a bureaucratic environment. Or even worse, might not be a good fit in team. On a positive note, might not promote bureaucracy and promote team or flat organization structure. And that should be a positive change given the organization have or had bureaucratic culture and everything takes too much time.

Someone who respects an older boss for having more experience might act bit differently than someone who thinks old people are irrelevant. And having someone in team or organization who values experience is always better. For the older boss, having someone with fresh ideas could be beneficial. For example, someone with fresh ideas and background can promote the way employees work. For example in a digital or internet company remote working or work from home culture can be promoted by someone with fresh ideas, which might appear to be odd for someone who never experienced such way of working and might not be sure about the productivity. But promoting working remote or work from home may boost employee productivity by cutting down on commute time or avoiding bad weather days etc.

Someone with bad memory may not be a great asset. In my opinion any customer facing role would be challenging for a person with bad memory. But, there could be another angle of looking at the fact that a person who read a news article and cannot recall exactly when. The person is up to date and have a habit of reading. For a lawyer or doctor reading about a latest Supreme Court verdict or a recent medical discovery could be really critical and it won’t matter on which date he or she had read it. So habit of reading or being in the know should be promoted organization wide.

 

How could an organization capitalize on or overcome their employees’ perceptions?

Capitalizing on employees perception is easier and cost effective that overcoming perceptions. Say in a country the general perception is that the working hours should be 10hrs, in that case the employer can easily capitalize on that perception without any resistance.

But based on faster growth rate a company or employer might have promoted employees every year, and based on that employees might have a perception that every year they should get promoted. Changing the promotion would take an effort by company management, explanation and reaching out to each employee would be necessary and assuring them that their performance won’t go unnoticed and would be rewarded, otherwise due to unchanged perception employees might leave. So employees must be made aware and their concerns and questions should be heard and answered by management, so that they remain motivated with current path.

Another example would be a person who works in cash counter of a grocery store should be mindful about how many people are in line to provide a great in store experience to customers. If too many customers line up due to slow check out speed that experience might not bring the customer back to store. In that case, the store manager has to train and explain the situation to the employees to make sure that employees working at checkout work really hard so customer wait time goes down. A better performance should be awarded too. So management should keep an open eye to employee performance and promote the expected behavior , train employees if required and reward the performers

 

 

 

 

Can new employees change a company’s culture? If so, how?

  Can new employees change a company’s culture? If so, how?

 

Yes a new employee can trigger change. New employee cannot implement change by himself but it is possible to introduce new idea. If the new employee joins higher management or joins as analyst still they will need to understand the existing culture. Identify the areas of improvement, present those ideas to management and brainstorm. If everyone agrees that the idea of change in company culture is required and possible to implement then, the change has to be initiated.

Since we are discussing specifically about new employee, we need to understand that the organization should have an existing culture of encouraging each employee including new employee to bring in fresh ideas, including any idea to change the organization culture. So there should be a proper communication channel to present ideas and during onboarding new employees should be trained regarding this culture, so that if someone has any idea he / she presents that idea to management or supervisor. And supervisor can help him / her take the idea forward.

 

  Are there conditions under which change is not possible? If so, what would such conditions be?

Change might not be easy, but it should be possible. Change is the only constant, if any organization resist change it is bound to seize to exist. But, even if an organization that resist change may exist. Most probably an organization with a founder who introduced culture of no change. Founder’s traits are amplified among the employees, in that case the organization won’t accept any change (Hansen, 2012). Although in my opinion this type of organization will seize to exist.

 

 

 how can leaders take steps to enrich and more effectively leverage their culture to affect organizational change?

The leaders of the organization should first have a culture to embrace change. Encourage ideas and culture of openness, so that everyone can brings ideas to table and any good idea could be adopted. This culture of openness will help employees to come up with ideas and embrace change. But implementing change is never easy and it has to be done with care.

As Simon Sinek has said “There are only two ways to influence human behavior: you can manipulate it or you can inspire it”.       Leaders can share their vision and mission with employees in the organization.  Letting each and every employee know “Why” the change is required is most critical, as it will tell them how the change will improve their lives. And if they do not understand why the change is required, then the change will stress them out and most probably demoralize them.

Next steps should be engaging the team. The higher the number of engagement, the easier it would be to implement the change. Employees would be resistant to change, management should involve with employees, understand them and engage with them to implement the change. Employees understand the reason for change would be willing participant in the change.

Final and most importantly the management should introduce the change gradually giving the employees enough space and time to learn and adopt to new environment.

References

Hansen, D. (2012, February). Two Reasons Why Companies Resist Change. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/drewhansen/2012/02/19/two-reasons-why-companies-resist-change/#270cb5ee536c

Markidan, L. (2015, March). How to Make Company Culture Changes That Stick. . Retrieved from https://www.groovehq.com/support/company-culture-change

 

 

 

Classical Management Perspective

Classical Management Perspective was constructed based on the management theories proposed by American Frederick Taylor, Frenchman Henri Fayol and German Max Weber. They focused on maximizing productivity and profit for organization. And as a result they did not focus on the human factor. The employees were treated as any other machine or resources, they were replaceable. Managers considered the employees to be lazy and unmotivated, hence they were micro managed with reward-punishment tactics. Bureaucracy gave birth to top down management and communication, where employees were supposed to do whatever they were instructed by supervisors. As a result supervisors mistreated and abused employees. And the organizations failed to maintain productivity and growth.

Human Relations Perspective focuses on what was missing from classical management perspective that is the human factor. The managers treat employee as valuable counterparts, assuming them to be responsible and motivated. Employees are encouraged to share ideas and take part in organizational decision making. And that is how human relationship motivates employees and boosts productivity. This is elaborate form of “Hawthorne effect”, employees enjoy the attention they get from management, they feel cared for and they feel motivated to do more and be more productive.

Human resources perspective is better than human relations perspective. Human relations perspective talked about making employees feel like they are cared for, but that does not make the management actually care about the employees. Human resources perspective was designed to support flat hierarchies, increased employee participation, quality control and teamwork. Employees actually got involved in decision making process along with the management.

System perspective acknowledges an organization to be a system and communication is actually the organization (Eisenberg & Goodall). Communication among participants in an organization help make sense of unpredictable situations. To make an organization exist it is critical to maintain the interactions going. The communication is more important that the message or the meaning. Systems theory focuses on the interdependence of the people / employees in an organization and the outcome of the communication among them.

Cultural perspective is bit different from the systems perspective. It focuses on the climate of the organization. This climate is result of shared values and beliefs, common practices, skills and actions, rules and some organization wide assumptions. Climate is more about the mood employees have and the parameters are diverse, such as satisfaction with the pay, satisfaction with coworkers, supervisor and it is subjective, might vary employee to employee. As Gibb identified the better climate is supportive and lead to member satisfaction.

  • What theoretical perspective did the last organization (I worked for) take towards its workers?

After studying all 5 theories I could see some similarities with the “Cultural perspective” but mostly I could relate with “human resource perspective”. But I think all organizations would be able to relate to or use System or cultural perspective of communication to some extent. So, the organization I am part of or was part of, have cultural and systematic communication. I work in an IT consulting firm and I am part of a team. And as a team member I think we have more of human resource communication day to day.

As part of the team with a manager, we follow a MBO and we have a quality control in place to make sure we deliver quality product. In our regular meetings everyone is encouraged to share status of assignment and share ideas or solutions. So we as employees feel more comfortable and valued. Mostly these are the major similarities. Until the project is over keeping the team in place is also somewhat critical for smooth execution of the project.

For bigger projects we interact with other teams within organization or outside of our own organization, we follow certain protocol but to achieve a common goal, in most of the cases to deliver a product for our common client. And without the interaction, it would be impossible to deliver anything. For example, the applications would integrate with each other and regardless of which organization we belong, the teams working on the projects would have to interact. In this cases, I can see some similarities with system communication.

And when we join the organization we went through onboarding training that gave an overview on the company and the culture. For example, we were specifically told not to make any joke as I work for an MNC and people from different countries and cultures work, so one might find a joke offensive. So my current organization has a culture of not making crude jokes. Or another example from my previous company, being mindful of accent, it was an MNC too and people might find it hard to follow any heavy accent. These are small examples of cultural perspective of communication in organizations.

 

What was it like working within the boundaries of that perspective?

Personally, I have found bureaucracy to be frustrating at times as it slows the processes down. Say for example, I apply for a vacation at it goes to my manager for approval, and unless my vacation days are approved, I cannot use the vacation days that I earn. But I do realize the importance of it, as a manager, it is important for supervisors to make sure that all employees do not go on vacation on same time.

Another example would be I have worked in teams where managers took a top-down approach and team members working in those teams did not have much say. The climate becomes suffocating. And it is hard to change such climate in a team where managers are autocratic. I would not say this was a cultural problem, not all the managers were same in the organization, it depended on the manager mostly.

 

References

Gibb, Jack. (1961). “Defensive Communication.” Journal of Communication, 11, 141-148

Eisenberg, Eric, & Goodall, H. L. Organizational Communication: Balancing Creativity and Constraint. New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s. 2001. Print

 

 

When My Own Expectations Influenced Your Attributions about another Person

Abstract

We often end up making judgements about a coworker. Especially when they join the team. But after working with them we realize the newest team member might not be exactly as we perceived him or her on the first sight. I think it is critical to understand a team member’s strength and weaknesses to build a better working relationship. Although we start with a certain set of expectations but it should evolve with time as we know the person better. And I am aware of the fact that I could be wrong when I make such attributions, the person can prove to be better or worse. So it is essential to have an open mind and not to be egotistical, as Alexia LaFata has said “To be open-minded means to remove your personal biases and prejudices from any situation and completely immerse yourself in another experience.”

 

 

 

When My Own Expectations Influenced Attributions about another Person

I considered many instances and decided to present the one that changed my perception in most profound manner. I work in a team environment and the team size and members vary project to project. I would like to share my experience with a team member from my past project. This specific team member, whom I met over lunch at work. I had known him for a while before he joined my team for a project.

 

What type of expectations did you have and what type of attributions did you end up making?

When I got to know about my soon to be team mate, he was working in another project. And I saw him working really hard on his project. I got to know his academic background and I was impressed, he was pretty good and had impressive grades in university. Actually he was a University topper. In my mind I kind of concluded he was smart and would be super capable resource.

The project was pretty tough, with a tough client, we were working on a difficult application under tight schedule. And the team was fairly new. So we needed strong leads. Leads with knowledge of work, who would be hands on and could train other team members. And we had to work long days.

I expected him to be highly intelligent and diligent in his work. As a lead (that was his role in my project) among all the expectations I expected him to review other team member’s deliverables before sending it to Customer. I was confident that he was capable enough to handle everything and like I mentioned, his academic records and what I observed that he was working hard on previous project, made me attribute these. And a smart person who is hard worker can be a great asset in one team. But here the point to be noted is – he was playing a team lead role, which required knowing the work and essentially reviewing team members work, reporting etc.

And of course there were project specific needs, such as working long hours. Training team members as needed and handling tough project conditions given the fact that we were not working for a happy client.

 

 

In hindsight, how accurate do you think that these attributions were?

               I was partially accurate, I really enjoyed working with him. As I expected him to be smart, he was smart and he understood situation or a problem as expected. But where I was wrong was I expected him to be great at being team lead too. His IQ did not make him diligent enough. The reason I say that, in the initial phase of project he sent out some data / report to customer that was absolutely wrong. I found out about it when I was reviewing and as you can imagine it was already late. In case it is not obvious, it was my mistake to attribute him to be diligent and having confidence on him for being thorough and diligent with his work. I did not work with him before or I did not verify or review his work before. So of course my judgement was wrong. As Jeff Haden mentioned “Great employees are reliable, dependable, proactive, diligent, great leaders, and great followers”. He and I both made mistakes, and I learnt from mistake quickly, as my manager suggested that I review everything before the deliverable goes to customer. And I started doing that. I used to find issue in reporting every day. To be honest I was disappointed with him and myself. Because I was wrong to think he would be a great leader, and he was not quite there yet.

Although I must mention that he was a hard worker and worked really long hours most of the days, and handled the client pretty good. Another area he faced challenge was training and grooming the rookie teammates. I am pretty sure it was not easy to do, but then it was one of the expectation that he would handle that. It wasn’t something I could have a guess, although we got some experienced resources to handle the situation later.

But like I mentioned before, it was a great learning experience for me. And I do this till date, I try to be through with my review. I have understood or rather learned that any resource who was great with studies may not perform same under pressure. And my preconceived notions cannot be an excuse for poor quality of deliverable. I try to not form any judgment or attribute for any resource at the beginning of the project. Having open mind gives me a better chance to really verify before I attribute. I am probably an incremental theorist. As I believe people might behave differently under different circumstances and personalities do change based on situation or experiences one goes through.

 

 

 

References

LaFata, A. (2014, January). The Most Important Quality You Will Ever Have In Your Life Is Being Open-Minded

. Retrieved from https://thoughtcatalog.com/alexia-lafata/2014/01/the-most-important-quality-you-will-ever-have-in-your-life-is-being-open-minded/

Haden, J. (2012, February). 8 Qualities of Remarkable Employees. Retrieved from https://www.inc.com/jeff-haden/the-8-qualities-of-remarkable-employees.html

Gap between CEO salaries and average employee pay

 

 

Abstract

A chief executive officer is the highest ranking officer in a company. As part of his responsibilities he makes final corporate decisions, manages overall business operation that include company finance, resources and communication between board of directors, shareholders and employees. The high pay might seem very much justified with the role and responsibilities a CEO might have. A CEO plays a role of a team leader, and having a leader who is great at team building is essential. CEO is a strategic planner, in any sector businesses are competing against each other, and a CEO makes sure his company comes out at top. Moreover a CEO interacts with board of directors and looks after interest of company stakeholders. So with so many critical responsibilities it is perfectly understandable why CEO’s pay is sky high. But given the fact that CEO pay and average company pay currently stands at 300 to 1 currently is not really motivating fact for employees

Keywords: ceo pay, income inequality

 

 

 

Gap between CEO salaries and average employee pay

Is it ethical for CEOs to be paid so much more than other employees?

It might not be ethical for CEOs to take a huge pay check, as one of the responsibility CEO has to motivate and inspire each and every employee. And an average employee with average pay check might not feel that CEO getting a huge pay check is fair since all the execution is done at ground level. Higher CEO pay demotivates average employee (Seymour, 2016) and CEOs action that demotivates employees is unethical.

Does this practice use a valid reward distribution system?

Given the scenario a company doing extremely well sales and profit wise, a CEO gets a fat pay check, and it is true that CEO motivates and drives the team or the employees to get the success, so she / he deserves recognition. But it is also true that if CEO pay is 300 times of average employee pay (Mackey, 2009) then one average employee might think that his / her work is insignificant and she / he might lose motivation. A CEOs success is very much dependent on each and every employee’s success. And it is crucial that each employees gives 100% to attain success in competitive market. So this reward distribution system is flawed.

Should companies be considering ways to reduce the gap to improve the overall moral of their employees?

The companies should look for a way to reduce the pay gap, and that might mean reducing the CEOs salary, because it might not be possible to increase the pay for each employee. We know that a CEO runs the company and motivates employees. And each productive and successful employee makes CEOs / company’s success a reality. And one of the responsibility CEO has is to motivate each employee and help the company succeed, if that means reducing own pay check, so that is only way to go. The employees might not feel insignificant and if they see CEO taking a pay cut, employees would realize how criticality of being a team player, that might act as a motivator.  Now the question is what a company can do to reduce the pay gap? Reducing the pay of CEO is a simple solution but that might not be considered as win – win solution, as a CEO might walk away with a bigger pay check. A company can consider stock or equity options for all employees including CEO as variable pay. In that was a higher stock price would benefit each employee. But this option might not work out that well in a huge organization. In those organizations CEO’s salary can be capped like it was in Whole Foods (Mackey, 2009). So, CEO’s salary can up as long as employee average salary goes up, that way employees will work for their own pay check and CEO can benefit from the success of the team too.

Do you think CEO and upper management salaries are subject to ethical consideration?

One cannot deny that a paycheck is a huge motivator. And CEO as an individual might follow the money, join a company that offers a bigger pay. But there is another fact that demotivated employees are bound to leave eventually or they would be less productive. And if employees keep on leaving that will increase the cost of hiring, training and company will lose productive days resulting company lose more money. A less productive employee is no better, company loses money there too. So it is always wise to keep you team and keep them motivated to be successful. Above all the responsibilities one CEO has, the most critical is to maximize sales and profit for shareholders. And a company that offers low job satisfaction is not very popular among employees. So if employees do not want to stay or come to the company that means the COE would fail miserably eventually. As John Mackey pointed out employees really do care about the income inequality and pay gap between average employee and CEO (Mackey, 2009), it should be management’s responsibility address the issue that has any negative impact on workforce, so that company can retain better performing resources and build a loyalty. If after being aware of this issue the management decides to leave it on the external equity market and do nothing, then that would be unfair to the employees and unethical.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

Mackey, J. (2009, April). Why Sky-High CEO Pay Is Bad Business. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2009/06/why-high-ceo-pay-is-bad-business

Seymour, K B. (2016, January). High CEO pay demotivates employees. Retrieved from https://www.professionalpensions.com/professional-pensions/news/2443461/high-ceo-pay-demotivates-employees

 

 

 

Give an example of someone you’ve tried to influence lately

Give an example of someone you’ve tried to influence lately.

In my last project I had to influence a team member who was reporting to me. We had a tight delivery situation where every 2 weeks we (as an application implementation team) had to deliver working functionalities. The team member had a module assigned to him and was taking more time to finish than what was allotted to him.

 

Was it an upward, downward, or lateral influence attempt?

               Since I was his lead and he was reporting to me, it was a downward influence attempt

 

Were you successful? Why or why not?

After providing with an approach that would save him time, he was able to deliver in short period of time. So I was successful to influence him to change his approach to save time.

What could you have done to change the outcome? Explain?

               Let me try to provide small description of the situation first. The team member was taking more than 3 days to complete a task, when only one day was allotted for that particular task he was assigned to. One might say, the estimation to complete the task was wrong. That was possible, but given the circumstances, going back to drawing board, re-estimating and changing the deadline was not the option. That would have caused us money and an unhappy customer. Now, our project manager was asking a very valid question “why is he taking so much time?”

I could have just told the team member that we had a deadline to meet and just hurry up. But, I decided to understand his method of executing the task. I found out he was trying to be really thorough, he was stressed too, since he had the deadline in mind, and he was trying to achieve a lot in very short time. And honestly, I did not see anything wrong with being thorough.  But given the situation, we could not have taken more time to finish one task. So, I explained him the situation, and tried to explain the gravity of the situation in hand. Missing deadline had financial and contractual impacts. He understood and agreed. Now that he was on-board, we had to come up with an approach that would not compromise the quality too much. We identified most critical areas or functionalities business would use most of the time and we decided to focus on those areas first to meet deadline. And less used parts, we decided to work on later.

On ideal scenario, we should have bring in another person who would have helped him share his work load and yet maintained quality of deliverable. But bringing in new resource would have costed money and time to train. But in this case, although I successfully influenced him to change the approach, but it was compromise with the quality. Just to mention, later in the project we took care of that part and client was happy with overall quality.

 

Next, give an example of a time when your behavior was influenced? What were your influencing factors?

In the same project I tried to help customer by taking in some requests those were not our deliverable, neither we were under any kind of obligation to deliver those. And I was influenced by my project manager not to bring in any request from customer.

Essentially 2 thongs influenced my decision, not to entertain additional customer requests – we were not getting paid for those extra requests and we still had to meet the initial deadline, our deadline wasn’t going to be extended because of those additional requests

At first I thought about customer and the relation we could have built, but then working for free and missing deadline would not have helped the team with reputation anyway.

The Stressor Factor and situation

The Stressor Factor and situation

I work in an IT consulting firm. As consultants we are often deployed to projects with tight deadline. The technology varies from project to project, each client has his own set of system and specific way of operating business. Due to tight schedules and deadlines resources do not get much time to learn the system or business process, so the learning curve has to be short and steep. Project managers have to maintain profitability so getting more resources or providing training is not possible. Learning new application / system, understanding the business process and understanding what we are required to deliver adds up along with the actual deliverable, resulting in increased workload and long working hours. I have very little to no control over, what I am supposed to deliver and when, as everything is pre-defined. As a team lead I find myself with a team of rookies. They require training, grooming and all extra attention one can imagine. So all these put me under lot of pressure and that often causes stress.

 

How it can be reduced

               The long hours and workload mainly caused due to tight deadlines, short time to learn and very little to no training. So, everything boils down to “lack of time” and less resources. I am aware that whatever solution I suggest might impact the margin or profitability of the project, but since we are focusing on ways to reduce stress I will not worry about profitability for now. First of all, when we form a team we need to consider and allot some time to train them in the technology and business process. Having the knowledge up front will reduce learning curve and boost productivity. And this is not something I alone can do. The management team would have to initiate this change in process. They need to be okay with the impact on timeline / deadline and cost / budget. And the team need to understand the criticality and benefit of upfront training. Along with that they need to understand there will be minimum room for error and on job they are supposed to know the technology and application, so they should not expect too much help.

The management and Organization would have critical roles. As managing timeline of projects, providing training up front would be a cultural change organization wide, that has to be approved by management.

 

Consider the larger picture of stress management in the workplace. How important is it that organizations help employees manage stress?

               In my point of view it is very critical. Stress often impacts health. I can speak from my experience, due to lack of sleep I used to be very irritable most of the time at work and at home. That impacted my relationship with my coworker. It definitely did not help with productivity or quality of my work. Neither did it help me be loyal to my employer, I wanted to get out of the situation as soon as possible. So the fact of the matter is, if organizations can help employees manage stress that will convert into better functioning team, higher productivity from employees and longer retention rate. One more benefit would be, less paid time offs, employees with good health and good mood might decide to show up at work more often that those who are not happy. It is always profitable to keep employees around, as hiring and training new employee is expensive and risky, because you never know the quality of the new hire while hiring. So, there might be some initial increase in expenses for organization to reduce employee stress but in long run the return on investment would be bigger.

 

Is it incumbent upon an employer to help its personnel to deal with stressors that may or may not be related to the workplace itself?

               Employer should be only worrying about stress related to workplace. Although if an employee is stressed some matter that is not linked with workplace, it might impact employer, as the productivity and quality of output from the employee might suffer, but it is hard to determine if employer can do anything about it. Say an employee is going through a divorce or suffered a loss of closed one, may be management can approve some paid time off, and encourage the employee to seek professional help. Employer should provide health insurance to help the employee cover the cost partially or fully. But like I said, it is hard to find out from employee unless we have an observant and compassionate management team. The manager should notice the grieving employee, offer him / her help, listen them out and then provide solution to show them that the employer cares. That is best possible situation for employee in my opinion.

 

Bernard Ebbers: Innovative Leader or Reckless Risk Taker

  1. Being named as one of Network World’s 25 most powerful people in the world of telecom Bernard Ebbers was a successful leader. Ebbers displayed a charm and led staff members to believe in his charisma. He managed to earn personal loyalty and high performance from staff members (Trevino, L. and Brown, M., 2005)

On another side Ebbers expressed impatience and arrogance when asked about WorldCom’s direction (Trevino, L. and Brown, M., 2005). To cut down costs he banned color copies, replaced expensive coffee with vending machine and played with the thermostat to save on electricity bill. Even his encouragement to invest in WorldCom stock raises suspicion as his wealth was invested in stock and for his and WorldCom’s success the higher stock price was critical. These were few examples of Ebbers’s display of destructive deviant behavior.

 

  1. Bernard Webbers earned loyalty and high performance from staffs but he tied the success of the company with the stock price and with the Wall Street expectations. Employees faced his wrath when stock price collapsed due to earning miss (Trevino, L. and Brown, M., 2005). Ebbers did not promote an open or healthy work environment by creating a “no room for error” work environment. And this encouraged Ebbers managers and employees to engage in deviant unethical behavior. Since Ebbers did not care how the numbers were being produced, the employees took unethical means to meet Wall Street’s expectation and saved the stock price.

Ebbers could have been clear about his expectations of followers. Not focusing so much on bottom line, could have communicated with the employees about his expectations, and use the reward system to hold followers accountable for ethical conduct while being productive. He already had a loyal and inspired employee following, all he needed to do was be ethical and fair and focus on long term success rather than short term stock price.

 

  1. Being named as one of the 25 Most Powerful people of Telecom, Ebbers had tremendous success, mixed with charisma and charm. He earned loyalty and high performance from managers and employees. Clearly the inspirational motivation part was combined with idealized influence that came from the charismatic side of transformational leadership. As Conger and Kanungo (1998) proposed Ebbers being a charismatic leader, influenced followers by arousing their personal identification with himself (Pratt, 1998). Ebbers evidently linked the company’s mission with employees’ self-image that included sense of moral virtue (Gecas, 1982).

 

  1. Ebbers tried to virtually finish competition for WorldCom and his strategy was to buy out competitors. To execute the strategy he needed to keep WorldCom’s stock price high. To maintain the stock price it was necessary to meet Wall Street analyst’s expectations. Webbers created so much pressure on his employees to meet the Wall Street numbers that they did what it took, and it took “unethical” means and fraudulent information. Wall Street rewarded such behavior and Ebbers promoted and approved such culture of inflating number and lying in the company.

In my opinion the key managers should not have engaged in wrong doing to please Ebbers and help his agenda. They should have done the right thing, as a result the stock price of WorldCom would have corrected, but Ebbers would not have been able to continue what he was doing. Either way, the result was not going to be anything good. I realize some of the managers would have lost their jobs, but at least by doing the right thing, nobody would have gone to prison.

 

  1. An ethical leader leads with example. Personal and professional ethics influences managers and employees, promoting fairness and open culture. Moreover an ethical leader promotes a reward based culture. These leaders are perceived as honest, trust worthy, fair and someone who takes care of his people. They take decisions considering future, values, stakeholder interest and of course the long term outcome. Promoting reward system usually motivates manager and employees also do the right thing and yet open communication sets the tone for expectation the company has from its employees. So employees know what to do, and they do it without violating ethics.

Ebbers could have promoted ethical and promoted sustainable growth of the company. Setting up correct expectation with Wall Street would have brought price stability in the stock and open communication and rewards would have motivated the managers and employees to do their job better boosting the bottom line without engaging into unethical behavior. WorldCom might have grown slower than it grew originally, but the growth would have been sustainable in long run.

 

 

References

Trevino, L. and Brown, M. (2005). The Role of Leaders in Influencing Unethical Behavior in the Workplace.  In R.E. Kidwell and C.L. Martin (Eds.) Managing Organizational Deviance (pp. 69-96). California: Sage Publications

Conger, J., & Kanungo, R. (1998). Charismatic leadership in organizations. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Gecas, V. (1982). The self-concept. In R. H. Turner & J. F. Short (Eds.), Annual review of sociology (Vol. 8, pp. 1–33). Palo Alto, CA: Annual Reviews