Assessing the Many Management Challenges George Faces
Having stepped into Stevenson Company transportation department as its new supervisor, George is quickly overwhelmed by a department in disarray, chaotically operating without any leadership or guidance. The major management issues George faces is predicated on the lack of clarity regarding roles, authority and organization structure and clarity of performance expectations. In short, the management issues George faces are what happens when senior management abdicates leadership of a given area of a business, allowing personal agendas and resentment to ester instead of implementing clear performance expectations. The lack of willingness to change and improve is more attributable the managers of dysfunctional teams than the teams themselves (James, Wooten, Dushek, 2011).
The first and most significant management issue is getting the transportation department integrated back into the company. The many symptoms of its malaise and dysfunctional nature can be attributed to its lack of leadership and intently. When organizational teams lack a sense of identity and meaning, the tendency to pursue individual agendas and ideas becomes a higher priority than accomplishing the goals of a department or organizational unit (Jaques, 2012). This is what’s happening with the many symptoms of a department gradually disintegrating. Everyone is thinking about themselves first, not even considering the mission and objectives of the department itself. Left unchecked there will be a degradation in service and the broader company’s financial performance and customer relationships will seriously suffer. All of these external problems will become even more severe and lead to the Stevenson Company gaining a reputation for unreliable, even dysfunctional transportation.
The is the lack of accountability to the individual role level. There is no accountability for performance, and no set of specific steps for escalating performance problems with employees. Lacking accountability and transparency, departments will degenerate into a series of personal agendas, preferences and conflicts that had been manageable in the past flourish into debates over who owns what specific task or area (Kovjanic, Schuh, Jonas, 2013). At Stevenson Company there is no accountability and transparency of performance for each employee, and as a result chaos is beginning to spread. There is also no active system in place to escalate performance and morale-related issues. This contributes to the lack of morale as work groups that pervades the transportation department today.
In terms of priorities, George needs to first focus on getting his department connected or integrated back to the rest of the company. Today is completely disconnected, lacking any sense of purpose as part of the Stevenson Company. His immediate staff, the assistant manager, two route managers, and a dispatcher need to meet with George and his boss, the VP of Operations, to define the goals and objectives for the department. Instead of allowing these meetings to descend into gripe sessions, George and his boss need to work with this team to define goals, objectives and guidelines for performance. They will need to in essence reconstruct the department from the ground up. The highest priority is to get the department connected back to the company again.
The second-highest priority is to of performance for drivers and create individual performance programs for each. As there is little if any meaning in their jobs today, hence their attitude and behavior, George needs to be bold and set performance programs in place immediately. He needs to make it clear there are rewards for excellent performance and consequences for failing to deliver shipments on time. The ability to and a of transformational leadership is critical for giving organizations a clear sense of mission (Mathis, Jackson, 2011). In conjunction with defining a performance program for drivers, he needs to define an overarching vision for the department and communicate how each person has a vital role to play in its fulfillment.
The third significant issue is the lack of role clarity and assignment. George needs to concentrate on defining how each role matters to the department and show employees what success in their roles look like. He also needs to set threshold levels of performance as well. In defining any new organizational structure, leaders must impart a strong sense of purpose while providing employees the opportunity to gain mastery and autonomy to accomplish their goals at the same time (Jaques, 2012).
Fourth, George needs to re-define the main processes and procedures the department relies on to get its work completed, and re-integrate the department with the rest of the company at this level as well. The recent situation with Francine shows just how isolated the department has become. In this situation, he needs to drop it and move on to solving the more systemic problems with the department. The situation with Francine isn’t the problem; the system that allowed it to happen in the first place is. This can be seen throughout the latter part of the case (Mathis, Jackson, 2011) as the systems for tracking employee performance don’t exist.
The specific action George needs to take is meet with his boss and get their support to re-architect the department. He needs to do this immediately, redefining its mission, and then cascading these goals to each member of the department. He also needs to show that his manager supports him and the department, and immediately begin managing to performance metrics. These metrics of performance need to be posted in the break rooms, along the walls of the office, and online on the company intranet sites. He has to infuse a strong sense of purpose to turn the situation around, as today no one senses their jobs matter. He also needs to make it clear that every position so critical to the success of the department and performance will be evaluated monthly. Finally all of these aspects need to be tied together with a strong vision of the department being a place of achievement and not chaos.
James, E.H., Wooten, L.P., & Dushek, K. (2011). Crisis management: Informing a new leadership research agenda. The Academy of Management Annals, 5(1), 455.
Jaques, T. (2012). Crisis leadership: A view from the executive suite. Journal of Public Affairs, 12(4), 366.
Kovjanic, S., Schuh, S.C., & Jonas, K. (2013). Transformational leadership and performance: An experimental investigation of the mediating effects of basic needs satisfaction and work engagement. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 86(4), 543.
Mathis, R.L., & Jackson, J.H. (2011). Human Resource Management (13th ed.). Cengage Learning.)