One of the problems with this scenario is the on-going conflict between Richard Leeman, Public Relations Chief over the chemical division, and Donna Olson, Public Relations Chief over the mechanical division. Gene Robertson, Public Relations Director for the Western Area Regional Office, has had to review seven cases in the past six months where Richard and Donna have been at odds with one another. As long as they continue to have problems working cohesively together, the issues will have an impact on the entire company. Richard and Donna, though they may be very talented in their respective roles, are a weakness in the strength of the company as a whole. If allowed to continue, the problems between the two will filter through the respective departments individually and collectively when there is a need to interact.
Another problem deals with Gene. As the director over Richard and Donna, he has allowed problems to continue. With seven reported issues over the past six months, and now the current problem at the public relations dinner, Gene is not doing his job as an effective leader to fix a problem that could cause long-term damage to the organization as a whole. If the problems with setting up for the event had been visible to the guests, the effects could have had a negative impact on the company’s future business relationships. It may be that Gene has an issue dealing with conflict resolution. There may also be an underlying issue with Richard’s respect and / or trust in Gene’s decision-making skills. This is believed to be a possibility since Gene instructed Donna to organize the event and Richard felt it necessary to intervene. It is obvious Richard has no respect for Donna, and very likely Donna has no respect for Richard. Another issue with Gene: though he thought his instructions were clear that Donna was in charge of the event, it may be that Gene did not effectively communicate this to Richard.
Gene must get this issue under control immediately. According to the case study, the problems between Richard and Donna have not affected the employees under each of them, and the information has not leaked up to Alfred Gamble, the Western Area Regional Manager. In order to be able to keep Richard and Donna in their roles, Gene must address their issues with one another through conflict resolution. It is not uncommon for talented people to have trouble communicating with others, especially those that are similar in leadership styles. It is the responsibility of their leader to address these issues and get them working well with one another. Other considerations may be to reorganize the leadership structure so these two do not have direct interaction with one another. The other consideration is to address performance issues, which could lead to the termination of Richard, Donna, or possibly both of them. Terminating one and not both may lead to on-going problems between the one that is kept and the next leader promoted to the vacated position.
Cultures of organizations are developed upon the empowerment of the individual…Employees who are empowered are more proactive and can better achieve their goals while being self-sufficient (Brown & Harvey, 2011). A variety of behavioral intervention strategies, such as employee assistance programs, conflict resolution training, wellness and fitness programs and team-building exercises, may prove beneficial in improving the interaction between not only Richard and Donna but all leadership within Steele Enterprises. Gene may even benefit from some personal leadership training programs, one being how to handle conflict resolution, coaching and employee performance improvement planning. Stress management is beneficial to any high performing teams. The role analysis technique is used to clarify role expectations which could increase team cohesiveness and allow them to function better and at a higher level. Role profiles enable teams to better understand the importance of each division’s responsibilities.
Brown, D. R. (2011). Process Intervention Skills. In S. Yagan, E. Svendsen, & J. Collins (Eds.), An experiential approach to organizational development, eighth edition (pp. 198-222). New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
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