From 2008 to 2015, I worked in different positions at Aircoil Company(BAC)
Jessup, MD. Inperforming my assigned roles and duties, I had mixed experiences onleadership and management from my superiors. This brief paper focuseson three leaderships and management concepts and two managers whoseleadership approaches under three concepts has been categorized asbad and good based on their impact on the workplace environment withsupport from relevant sources and class discussions in the currentcourse.
One of my bosses, Mr. Michael exhibited ethically oriented leadershipskills that created a socially responsible workplace. This man wascommitted to leading by example in ethical behavior that affected thelarger organization. I recall one time that my team and I haddeveloped a new 3” PVC overflow connection to replace the steel oneused previously. The new PVC overflow connection would save the firm$250,000 annually but had to be discontinued over safety andenvironmental concerns. Michael observed that consumers feared thatthe products were of lower quality as they used PVC as opposed tosteel. Furthermore, Michael indicated that broken overflow connectionresulting from being stepped on posed a danger to the environmentthrough leakage of chemically treated water, injury to consumers anddestruction of buildings. For this reason, the company reverted backto using steel overflow connection. This clearly portrays Michael asan ethically-oriented leader who is ready to sacrifice larger profitsfor ethics.
In contrast, James, the other manager I worked with, created a veryunethical workplace and his leadership was not ethically-oriented.While Michael treated all employees equally and ensured theyco-existed well, James did the exact opposite. He set employeesagainst one another, used blackmail to get things done and had hisfavorite employees and unfairly targeted others. For instance, whileworking under him in a team of five, he had two favorite employeeswho he always had lunch with and favored them in decisions.Personally, I felt unappreciated even after being assigned workpreviously completed by four people. As such, the workplace wasunhealthy and toxic and productivity was low.
Employees must be managed and led well to achieve personal andorganizational objectives. Michael as a leader exemplified the neededleadership skills to manage employees and ensure they attain settargets. He defined and elaborated on the various roles of employees,monitored how the task were completed and then provided feedback. Healso updated himself with the personal and work-related issuesaffecting employees during monthly meetings. Such timely meetingswere also used to provide review undesired behaviors though Feintzeig(2015) believes they should not. He also retained an open-door policythat meant one could see him whenever an issue arose withoutnecessary booking an appointment which enabled instant review andfeedback (Jackson 2012). To me, Michael was created a very sociallysustainable workplace environment where each person worked towardsthe common organizational goals and also helped one another achievepersonal goals.
In contrast, James did a poor job in managing employees working underhim including me. He did not define the success factors in the job oreven state his expectations regarding my job but instead perceived hisubordinates as tools (Gratton 2011). He was rarely seen and wasunavailable to monitor progress but would reprimand us during theannual meetings which he attended only because they were mandatory.He offered and even assigned most tasks through emails with little orno clear instructions. Thus, most of the tasks he assigned me andother employees did not meet his expectations. Whenever he needed tomake corrections, he seemed too eager to berate someone by pointingsome minor errors in front of other employees in an admonishing tone.For James, all that mattered to him is the need to appear effectivein the eyes of his bosses.
PerformanceManagement: Reviewing and Providing Consequences.
Michael kept himself updated with the performance of all subordinatesand projects on a fortnightly basis. I believe this contributedimmensely towards his overall view of individual employees’abilities and presented this whole view in the annual performancereviews and the consequences that followed. Whenever he madecorrections, they were private with a friendly but firm tone. Michaeloffered me tips pertaining to my duties and also offered me on mycareer path. In fact, he was very supportive for my promotion andsalary raise in that he acknowledged my efforts in front of hisbosses. I was very happy that Michael also enjoyed my success in theorganization and even remained in touch when I moved in anotherdepartment.
As for working with James, the situation was very different. Whileworking in his department, I felt alienated from him. He treated meand two of my colleagues as outsiders while he remained close to twoemployees. One employee, Linda, who happened to be very close toJames, was even allowed to work from home when she relocated toanother state. I knew that such an arrangement would never be allowedin any organization unless in case of special arrangement. Inreviewing our performance, he often cited the annual performanceappraisals to scare employees into conforming into a certain behavioras he described (Culbert 2008) though he might have had goodintentions (Bazerman & Tenbrunsel 2011). Given that theperformance review did not achieve the desired goals, Jamesdiscouraged me from pursuing a promotion and denied my increasedresponsibilities in the firm which deserved better compensation. Tome, working under James was boring, stressful and his overallapproach in berating employees was unethical and created undesiredethical environment in the workplace (Culbert 2008). I felt thatworking under James capped by abilities, lowered my output andderailed my career path hence the decision to quit BAC. Studies havelinked poor pay and poor work environment with high employeeturnovers (Gratton 2011).
The brief assessment above clearly points to how leaders can succeedor fail in leading ethically, managing performance in terms ofmonitoring and evaluation and managing performance in terms ofreviewing and providing consequences. Where leaders lead ethically byconsulting employees and by example as Michael did, there is a betterworkplace environment and improved productivity. On the other hand,James’ leadership approach suffocated employees and encouragedundesirable workplace behavior. Thus, it is clear that if performancemanagement is approached in the right manner, it can reinforce andencourage ethical workplace environment that improves organizationalperformance.
Bazerman, M. &Tenbrunsel, A. (2011). Ethical breakdowns. Harvard BusinessReview. 58-65.
Culbert, S. (2008).Get rid of the performance review! Retrieved from
Feintzeig, R. (2015)Everything is awesome! Why you can’t tell employees they aredoing a bad
Gratton, L. (2011).The 10 ways to know whether your job is meaningful. Retrievedfrom
Jackson (2012). Tenbiggest mistakes bosses make in performance reviews. Retrievedfrom