Module 8 Portfolio
SPRING14-C-8-ORG303-1: Applied Organizational Psychology
Colorado State University – Global Campus
Dr. Wyatt Fisher
June 23, 2014
Module 8 Portfolio
This essay documents failures in leadership based on my experience. We will concentrate on an experience in which the negative psychology of an individual impacted leadership and caused challenges within the organization. We will identify potential solutions management could have used to improve the quality of the leadership.
Details of the Experience
In 2005 I was a project engineer for a firm in California. I worked in a small group of folks who engineered and built ground stations that control spacecraft around the world. At the time, the group was run by an individual who was well liked within the team. He was excellent at letting us be professional and we worked our projects autonomously, only coming to him when we had major issues. Unfortunately, executive management considered him not very effective as a leader. Our suspicions are that he did not provide the proper communications management would have liked. Later that year, when a re-organization was published, that manager was demoted to individual contributor and another colleague became manager of the team. An excellent job analysis is critical in attracting the right people with the correct qualifications, (Aamodt, 2012), but in this case there was no analysis performed. The position was not opened to a wider review. Executive management had believed the new person would be a good leader and take the team in a different direction. They selected someone who had been an excellent individual contributor. Over the course of several years she had demonstrated the technical expertise the group expected and excelled at.
This person was respected by people who worked in other departments and organizations as well as the executive management. As a colleague she was reasonable and seemed genuinely concerned for the projects and the well-being of each individual contributor within the group. To continue with career development goals, executive management assumed the best solution was to give her a position leading the team. Soon after the promotion, multiple projects developed issues that could be traced back to the manager’s obsessive and controlling leadership style. These issues centered not on leadership but on the personality and psychology of one person, not on the group’s ability to perform.
At first she deployed a management style that focused on cajoling, threatening, and punishment. When that failed convoluted requirements were developed. For example, she required all projects to be funneled through one point, micromanaging the work load of five people and becoming a bottleneck for all tasks. Additionally, the manager would “kiss up” to the executive team and people of influence by declaring that the issues the team was experiencing were caused by everything but management style. Then, this manger would “kick down” to the subordinates, to the point of refusing to hold conversations with certain people who offended. This manger’s ability to disrupt the team with conflict and confusion alienated all but one of the engineers, myself included. By overestimating her own abilities and failing to recognize and respecting the skills of the people who worked under her, this manager failed to use any of the most important interpersonal communications skills. This manager failed to control their immaturity and provide listening skills to the rest of the team (Aamodt, 2012). She needed to truly consider what other people were saying and use that information to change the course of the team.
The Leadership Behavior
This particular manager felt selected to lead the group to the “next level”, “… reasons for micromanaging could be that a supervisor is convinced that no one can do a job better