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Understanding Leadership

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Understanding Leadership

Discussion Questions, Activities and Case Studies

Chapters One through Four

Name: MELANIE HOLLIMON                        

Chapter 01: Defining Leadership

Discussion Questions

  1. What are the organizational implications of assuming that leaders are born and not made?

Leadership abilities are generally learned and often contextual.  Individuals can be born with the genetic characteristics that predispose them to be more or less extroverted organized, or intelligent.  No single attributes is a formula for natural leadership ability.

  1. At this point in your thinking, how would you explain the difference between leaders and managers?

Leaders are not necessarily managers and vice versa.  Leaders=influence, guide, develops vision and strategies.  Managers=conduct efficiently and master routines, organize, control and solve problems

  1. How would you respond to someone who asserted that leadership is what leaders do?

This is the most common misconception.  Leadership has to do with relationships in that it is something leaders and followers engage in together

Case Study

The Case of Dundee Consulting Inc.

        It was Friday, April 16 and the final mailing was being hand delivered to the U.S. Post Office. Max Forest was in charge of the Southern Rockies Tax Accounting division of Dundee Consulting. Maxgroup was comprised of twelve accountants, an office manager, and four office staff members. Max and his team had worked nearly 16-hour days for the last month to complete the stacks of tax documents for the hundred or so clients they served in the tri-state area. Max had personally put in nearly 100 hours in the last week and was as physically and emotionally exhausted as everyone else on the accounting team.  About half of the team asked to take part of the next week off in order to recover from the heavy schedule they had kept over the last quarter. The rest of the group would be in the office, but Max knew they were finalizing important loose ends with late filings.  The tax season was even more tense because Max had been told in January that his division might be closed if revenue from the tax season was not substantial enough to justify the huge payroll and high overhead cost of the plush office in downtown Denver.

        Max had just received an email from Dundee Vice President of Domestic Operations, Jimmie Walls. Jimmie announced that he was going to be in the Denver area on Monday, April 19 and would like to meet with Max and his team to assess earnings of the division during the recently ended first quarter. Jimmie proposed that the team and Max compile and analyze as much income data as they could by Monday and present that information over a luncheon meeting. Max realized that the amount of time needed just to collect the data would be well over 20 hours, even for the most veteran team associates.  Max also realized that a poor showing (in either the data or the presentation) would greatly impact, perhaps fatally, the future of the Southern Rockies division.  The meeting had to be held, it had to be flawless, and the data had to be presented effectively if the team (and possibly even Max) were to have any hope of being retained by Dundee.

  1. If Max were to engage in leadership, what actions would he take? Discuss each basic element needed to deliver the best possible meeting on Monday.

Leadership actions include

a.Develop a strategy tha will allow the staff to have a break as well as deliver the best possible meeting on Monday.  

b.  Align and provide direction to staff to accomplish the goals

c.  Motivate staff by offering incentives for there hard work as well as meeting there human needs.

d.   Completing all of these steps would provide a productive and positive outcome

  1. If Max were to engage in management, what actions would he take to insure the best possible outcome on Monday?

Management actions would include
a.  Establish steps and timelines for results for Mondays meeting

b.  Delegate elements of projects.  Staff would have duties assigned.

c.  Fix any problems that arise

d.  Provide predictablility and order assuring that everyone accomplished their assignment and the meeting will be a success.


Chapter 02: History of Leadership

Discussion Questions

  1. Imagine yourself as a leader in a past era.  Name the era and describe how you would handle a specific (give an example) problem or situation.

Tribal leadership-

I would handle family situations.  As the leader in the household, I would be responsible for support for the family members by providing meals, teaching and being nurturing to my family.  If my family was hungry and we had the same meal several times, I would create a different recipe in order to make some sort of variety.  

  1. Talk to someone who was in the workforce in the 1960s, and ask them what leadership was like in that classical era. Report what you find out, and then tell what changes you think have taken place in leadership since then.

Leadership in the 60s classical era was cut and dry.  You knew who the leader was and no changes.  Everything is stable.  Changes that have taken place are that most jobs have several changes, and no stability since then.

  1. Imagine yourself in a leadership situation.  What behaviors and skills, in your best estimate, will be necessary to successfully lead others?

Behaviors and skills necessary to successfully lead others if I was in leadership would be the ability to change.  Progressive leadership would be the most common type of leadership.

Activity

Consider each of the following situations and compare the actions of leaders from at least three different eras. Write what you think they would do in each of the situations in the space provided.

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