I have identified three leadership weaknesses of Carl Cooke: competence, listening, and visibility. These weaknesses can lead to poor team cohesiveness and trust, and overall this typically hurts the organization as a whole.
The first weakness, competence, is described as a servant leadership attribute which helps to build trust. (Russell & Stone, 2002) The trust between a leader and followers is partially formed from the followers having confidence in the leader’s abilities and judgement. (Greenleaf, 1970) Carl, unfortunately, suffers in this area. He would often stumble on common office-related tasks such as setting appointments in Outlook, generating reports for the business, and explaining the basic fundamentals of PLM systems. This weakness unfortunately affected the organization as a whole, since Carl would frequently need to explain and present these types of things with executive management. Additionally, Carl would stumble on PLM-related questions from engineering, which reflected poorly on the department. With an unflattering view from upper management and engineering, the team began to distrust Carl’s ability to lead. This began to result in poor team cohesiveness.
The second leadership weakness I have identified for Carl is that of listening. Greenleaf suggested in his essay that “only a true natural servant automatically responds to any problem by listening first.” (1970, p. 8) Unfortunately, Carl lacked in this area and this caused a lot of anguish in weekly meetings. Carl, when meeting with engineering or management, would occasionally be approached with a problem. He would often formulate a plan for proceeding, without preliminary consultation with the team. Technological limitations a...
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...open two-way communication would allow the leader to pass down corporate- and management-level news to employees, and would also allow employees to raise work and/or private concerns to the manager. Not only would this allow Carl to capitalize on one of his strengths – commitment to the growth of people – it would also considerably help with his visibility. The employees, being able to see and discuss concerns with Carl in person, would not see him as a distant, transactional leader, but rather one who is personally invested in serving the employees and the organization. Furthermore, as Yukl and Tracey noted, power and influence can be reinforced by being an active role model in visibly serving the organization. (1992) By following this recommendation, I expect Carl would regain much of the team’s trust and see a strengthening in the cohesiveness of the department.
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