Saturday, July 14, 2012

Karen Leary

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[Karen Leary (A), (B), (C)]

1. Describe and assess how Leary has taken charge of the Elmville office.

Leary had a high motivation herself and she set goals for her branch performance at high level as well. Her management style could be described as aggressive, kept herself informed by her FCs continually, putting importance to training/ coaching/ counseling, making quick decisions and pushing the employees to work at their “best”. Since she took charge at the office, Leary never hesitated to change whatever she saw hindered growth, the prevailing culture, or even persons who had been working with the branch for over 6 years but showing only average performance.

I would say that she’d been acting very effective, although that caused some people grumbling, it suited the company’s current situation, its strategy (more customer-oriented), and a dynamic nature of industry very well. The most important thing was that she considered the customers first, a very critical factor in consultant business, and also her staff’s self-improvement. She might have “monitored” her staff too closely sometimes, but she also seemed to gradually empowered them when she saw they were experienced enough. Overall, that resulted in a 0% increasing in business during her first year.

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. What is your evaluation of Chungs performance?

Chung’s technical performance was initially impressive. He passed all test with high scores, appropriately and very good at establishing contacts with top Merrill people Leary introduced them to him, and could bring in a very big account within a short period. However, it was hinted from the start that he wasn’t very good at working in team. His cooperation to others was low and later on he seemed to act suspiciously, keeping the account and customer contact all to himself. He made some investment decisions on his own regardless of the company’s suggestions and hadn’t shown any attempt to bring in more accounts to the branch. Despite his promising start, I would give him rather low scores for his performance so far.

. If you were Leary, how would you respond to Chungs request? What factors would you consider? What actions would you take to improve Chungs performance, as well as your working relationship with him?

Since I agree with Leary’s decision to terminate Chung, I would do the same if I were her. The first factor I would consider was that whether his past actions gave the first priority to the customer or company’s long-term benefits or not. Then I would assess his performance against the organization norms, how well he interacted with the company and his peers, and how much it would affect the branch’s teamwork and other employees’ morals if the decision was to be made. In order to improve his performance or working relationship with him, the only way to do so was via communication, which Leary had been doing. She recognized his success bringing in the big account and stated clearly what strategies/ norms the company was adopted, but those had no effect to his growing ego and temper. So, it would cost the firm more to accept his request and risk creating inequality comparing to benefits he had done to the organization so far.

4. What are the particular challenges and dilemmas in managing subordinates who have different cultural backgrounds and working styles from yours? Suggest ways to resolve these challenges and dilemmas.

Like in the prior question, the only way to resolve such dilemmas was via communication. The major challenges were about the individual’s perception and ability to adapt to the environment. In this case, Chung’s ego was a bit over the edge and his demanding request, his threat to resign was a harsh way of negotiation. These actions of his might work on some managers who have more compromising style than Leary’s, so another difficulty to manage this issue is how much aggressive/ absolute a manager should be? This would depend on the situations at hand, but the company’s long-term benefits must always be the first priority. For an instant, in this case, if Leary accepted Chung’s request, this kind of threatening might occur again in the future, either by Chung or others who saw the method had worked. Explaining reasons why the request couldn’t be granted and different views/ comments from others were necessary, but if it doesn’t work, sometimes acting absolute is the only way to solve the conflicts.

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