Critical evaluation of two different recommendations

Introduction

Effective leadership is an important and critical aspect for any organization and different workgroup and teams working together. It requires knowledge and understanding of how to communicate well with all the elements that constitute an organization i.e. employees, investors, managers, customers, etc. Every group in an organization requires different types of communication style as well as leadership style. Leaders must possess the ability to adapt himself on the basis of the team or the group with which they are communicating most of the times when they are in the organization (Brockner et al 2004).
As a manager in the customer service organization, recommendations to Linda, the supervisor are presented and discussed with respect to dealing with the attitude problem of one of the customer service representatives in Linda’s team i.e. Joe. Pros and cons of two different recommendations are identified so that the best and the rational step can be taken by Linda to solve the problem she is facing concerning motivation, communication methods, team-work and leadership style for dealing with Joe.

Attitude problem and solution

In every organization, one of the most difficult tasks for any supervisor is dealing with difficult employees with an attitude problem. The problem can be related to the work style, personality, or the temperament of the team member that aggravates other member of the team or makes it harder for the supervisor to get the work done. However, most of the employees with the attitude problem are not aware of this and it is just the part of their being. Situations that point to the attitude problem of any team member are:

  • Peers preferring to do the work alone rather than working with him,
  • He insists that the work has to be done in his own way,
  • He also questions the direction of the supervisor, and
  • He is also involved in consistent criticizing, competing with or dismissing the work of others (Ng & Sorensen 2008).

In order to deal with such type of employees and Joe in the case, following recommendations are made for getting out of the attitude problem faced by the supervisor from the employee:
 

Motivating the employee

The supervisor should create positivity in the atmosphere. Creation and sustaining team connections is the first and foremost step in doing with the bad or negative attitude of the customer service representative. Engagement in supportive conversations with the staff without leading to arousal of situation of resorting to complaining is the next step. Thus, promotion of collaborative and cohesive environment is the first step. Next is treatment of negativity of the employee in the workplace as a critical performance issue (Labianca & Brass 2006).
For instance, the supervisor should address the inability of the employee to work in a team situation. The next step is collection of evidence in regards to the bad attitude of the employee before confronting him. When the supervisor specify incidences of negative or bad attitude shown by the employee in the workplace or for which other team members have complained, the employee with the bad attitude cannot deny what he has done. The supervisor should provide the supportive environment with the help of which she can address the attitude problem of Joe (Avey et al 2006).
Next step is private meeting with the employee for discussing the issues of bad attitude. Inviting a human resource representative in the meeting for discussing the policy and beliefs of the company about the employee’s attitude in the company should be done. The employee should be given the opportunity to speak his mind and if there is any specific situation or issue that is troubling him. He can then be motivated by extending support and make him do the tasks by proper guidance so that he can feel confident about the situation and can become able to deal with the bad attitude issues in an effective manner (Johns 2006).

Communication methods

The key to address a poor or bad attitude is focusing on the effects that specific behaviors of employees are having on the team. It is quite easy for a supervisor to simply state to the employee that his bad attitude is creating a negative impact on the team. However, it would not be called productive and it does not give the employee anything specific to deal with or work on. Therefore, the recommended action for the supervisor is to isolate the specific bad attitude behaviors of the employee and identifying the results for these behaviors. For instance, the supervisor can say to the employee that when the latter talks to her with that sarcastic tone, it makes the supervisor feel that he does not either her or her role as the team leader (MTD Training 2013).
Making the employee aware that this is making their relationship strained while it could have been a mutually supportive relationship instead is the next step. After this, the supervisor should suggest the employee that he should try to see what difference a change in his behavior would produce. For instance, the supervisor can ask the employee to try changing the tone of his voice while he is in a team meeting. Once he is able to see the difference that this new behavior is making, for both him and the other team members, it is more likely that this employee will adjust his behavior on his own in the future (MTD Training 2013).

 Teamwork

Motivational intervention is one of the methods that involve teamwork and active involvement of members of the team to solve the attitude problem of one of the employees. It comprises application of influence tactics. Motivating response can be regarded as the common response towards handling bad attitude issues in the team. When the members of the team feel and believe that the change is possible, the motivating actions and response includes withholding of respect, praise and resources until there is change in the attitude of the team member. Motivational intervention also includes confrontations at the subtle or not so subtle level, initiating formal administration of punishments and demanding apology from the member of the team with the attitude problem (Rothwell 2009).
A significant example of the situation where teammates are motivating a negative member can be seen in Hawthorne studies. Under this study, when a team member was not working to its best possible potential and also not hard enough, coworkers started criticizing his laziness and make which resulted in remarkable change in the attitude of the employee which was more effective than the supervision of the management or giving any kind of incentive. In another study by Kanter (1972), there was use of ‘public criticism’ by Oneida community under which the formal mechanism of criticizing those who were found to be deviated from the work norms was present in the form of providing enlightening feedback (Felps et al 2006).
 

Occasionally, the formal and informal punishments can be combined with the positive reinforcements so as to bring out more desirable attitude and behavior from the concerned employee. Motivational response can be explicit or implicit and can include both punishments and rewards. However, the common fact in all types of motivational responses is that the members of the team try to bring the negative or poor attitude members back into the fold by bringing in significant change in their behavior (Felps et al 2006).

Leadership style

Leadership plays an effective role in dealing with all types of organizational members in an effective manner. In a group or team where an employee constantly complains about the working of the group or the group dynamics, it is required on the part of the leader that he or she should handle the problem with great care and attention. In the case, Linda can adopt consulting/coaching leadership style. She can talk to Joe outside of the group and should get to know why he possesses such bad and negative attitude. The leader should also ask for the cooperation from the group. As an alternative, the leader can also ask the employee to either sit quietly or leave the group as the form of punishment. It comes in the authoritative type of leadership style (Mortensen 2009).

Critical evaluation of two different recommendations

Motivating intervention

As discussed earlier, team members can play a strong role in changing the behavior of the employee with the bad attitude. There are both pros and cons of the approach discussed below:
Pros: Motivational intervention attempts to bring the desired attitude in the employee through making him self-realized of his negative attitude by publicly criticizing him and stopping praising his efforts as well as limiting the resources. It forces the employee to bring a change in his behavior. Another benefit is that the employee is able to feel guilty for his bad attitude by himself, thus making it easier for the employee to deal with the situation in an effective manner. Another benefit is that it can be combined with positive reinforcements, such as incentives, etc. as well from time to time so that the employee does not feel wholly separate and aloof (Marques et al 2006).
Cons: Motivational response can prove to be a failure if the concerned employee is adamant and it is in his way to behave like that way. In such scenario, it is not possible for the supervisor to bring desirable result with the help of teammates of the employee. In fact, it can result in opposite response by the employee becoming more aggressive or disconnected from the rest of the team (Marques et al 2006).

Consulting and motivation

Consulting and motivation is done through personal talks with the employee in concern to know what is the issue with him and then suggesting ways to rectify the behavior. The person is not usually confronted in the group as it can lead to an argument between the leader and the concerned team member. The pros and cons of the approach are discussed below:
Pros: The approach helps in understanding the root cause of bad attitude shown by the team member. Once the key reason behind such attitude is discovered, the person can be encouraged to bring changes in his workplace attitude by taking small steps like bringing voice modulation in team meetings and in telephonic conversations with customers. It also leads to creation of better understanding and building of a positive relationship between the supervisor and the concerned team member. As the employee himself can observe the changes his small efforts can bring in his behavior, it is likely that such changes will become the permanent part attribute of the employee in the future (Ng & Sorensen 2008).
Cons: The employee can perceive the supervisor as weak and thus will not taking the coaching or the personal meeting with the employee any seriously. It can also result in dissatisfaction among other members of the team who not want to work at all with the concerned member owing to his bad attitude. As a result, other team members can adopt the strategy of rejection in which they minimize or eliminate any kind of interaction with their team member. Removal of responsibilities and exclusion from the decision are other consequences from the side of team members (Avey et al 2006).

Conclusion

Negative team members are a problem not only for the team but also for the whole organization as there is adverse effect on team and organizational performance. Various methods are present with the help of which the supervisor can deal with employees that possess bad attitude. These methods revolve round the areas of teamwork, motivation, communication and leadership style of the supervisor. Two recommendations for the supervisor are following the motivational interaction or going with consulting and positive motivation of the employee. There are both pros and cons of the recommendations, but there is need to combine the two approaches. The consulting approach can be coupled with positive motivational reinforcement with intermittent direct and indirect punishment so that cons of every approach can be dealt effectively.

References

Avey, J.B., Patera, J.L. & West, B.J. 2006. The Implications of Positive Psychological Capital on Employee Absenteeism. Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies Winter, 13(2), 42-60.
Brockner, J., Spreitzer, G. & et al. 2004. Perceived Control as an Antidote to the Negative Effects of Layoffs on Survivors’ Organizational Commitment and Job Performance. Administrative Science Quarterly, 49(1), 76-100.
Felps, W., Mitchell, T.R. & Byington, E. 2006. Research in Organizational Behavior: An Annual Series of Analytical Essays and Critical Reviews. Research in Organizational Behavior, 27, 175–222.
Johns, G. 2006. The Essential Impact of Context on Organizational Behavior. Acad Manage Rev, 31(2), 386-408.
Labianca, G. & Brass, D.J. 2006. Exploring the Social Ledger: Negative Relationships and Negative Asymmetry in Social Networks in Organizations. Acad Manage Rev, 31(3), 596-614.
Marques, J., Vincze, O. & et al. 2006. Dealing with collective shame and guilt. Political Psychology, 32, 59-78.
Mortensen, C. D. 2009. Communication Theory. Transaction Publishers.
MTD Training. 2013. Performance Management. Bookboon.
Ng, T.W.H. & Sorensen, K.L. 2008. Toward a Further Understanding of the Relationships Between Perceptions of Support and Work Attitudes A Meta-Analysis. Group Organization Management, 33(3), 243-268.
Rothwell, J.D. 2009. In Mixed Company: Communication in Small Groups: Communicating in Small Groups and Teams. Cengage Learning.

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