The Management Training Tool Kit
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The Management Training Tool Kit

Alan Clardy

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  2. English
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eBook - ePub

The Management Training Tool Kit

Alan Clardy

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About This Book

Most people learn best through experience, which is why new managers often feel ill-equipped to resolve the frustrations, setbacks, conflicts, and concerns of the people on their team. The Management Training Tool Kit includes all the essential tools to help you face even the most advanced leadership challenges and avoid embarrassing blunders. Psychology professor Alan Clardy supplies thirty-five real-life case studies that explore the important lessons learned by other experienced professionals, including how to troubleshoot plummeting morale, interpersonal conflict, decreased productivity, disruptive employees, sexual harassment claims, and more. With probing discussion questions that help pinpoint core issues, practical solutions that can be used to resolve problems, role-playing analysis exercises that bring the case studies to life, and an inventory to help you assess your unique management style, you'll gain the skills needed to guide your team through trials and on to success. New managers tossed to the front lines with absolutely no experience are bound to make some mistakes. But The Management Training Tool Kit will help leaders adeptly overcome any obstacle.

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The 35 Case Studies

Case 1

How Come They Make More Than I Do?

Background Information

Fran Jefferson began her job as the supervisor of the Training Department of Metro Bank and Trust Company almost four years ago. She was generally pleased with the four trainers and one secretary in her unit. Indeed, Fran took pride in her ability to create a high-morale and high-performance unit. This was particularly pleasing to Fran because they were constantly busy and barely able to keep up with the volume of training expected from them.
Then, early on Wednesday morning, Fran’s secretary, Judy Martin, knocked on Fran’s door and asked to see her. Fran liked Judy and considered the secretary to be one of her “stars.” Indeed, in an effort to develop Judy’s talents and abilities, Fran had gone out of her way to give Judy special assignments, including her in all the major planning activities of the department and entrusting her with the administration of certain departmental programs, such as tuition assistance and evaluation follow-through. By now, Judy functioned more as an administrative aide than as a secretary.
It was clear that Judy was upset about something as she seated herself in the chair next to Fran’s desk. Slowly, Judy placed a job-posting application form in front of Fran. She would not look her supervisor in the eyes.
Fran was surprised, to say the least. As far as Fran knew, Judy liked both her job and working in the Training Department. In turn, everyone else in the department liked and respected Judy.
Fran looked over the form and said casually, “So you want to post for the executive secretary job in the Branch Management Division.” She paused. “Could I ask you for some additional information, Judy? I’m kind of surprised.”
Judy looked at her clasped hands, thinking. Fran waited.
Finally, Judy looked up and said: “I noticed in last week’s job posting that the executive secretary position is graded as a 14. Now that’s two grades higher than my job!”
She caught her breath. “You know my friend Mary Johnson works over there. She told me that half the time the secretary sits around doing nothing.”
Judy continued, gathering some anger in her look and resentment in her voice. “Look, Fran, you know how hard I work, how hard we all work, around here. I mean, I’m always busy. I don’t see why I should work in a job graded at a 12 and work twice as hard and yet not be paid the same as that secretary. The requirements for the job are just a little higher than mine, and the merit raise you gave me last month hardly helped at all.”
Fran listened, then she replied: “It sounds to me, Judy, that you’re feeling angry because you think you should be paid more for the work you do and that you want to switch jobs rather than put up with things as they are. Am I right?”
Judy nodded her head in agreement.
Fran knew, though, that the Metro job evaluation system was up to date and that the executive secretary position to which Judy referred did require additional background experience, skills, and responsibilities beyond what was needed in Judy’s current job. Because her secretary was such a good employee and a nice person, Fran was quite concerned. She felt strongly that moving to the executive secretary job would not be what Judy really wanted, and she hated to lose Judy, especially if her decision was based on faulty reasoning and the move would not be good for her.
Fran tried to figure out what to do.

1. What are the reasons given by Judy Martin for wanting to post for a position in another department? Which points are accurate and which are debatable?
2. How should Fran respond to Judy’s request to transfer?
3. How should Fran respond to Judy’s salary complaints?

Case Discussion:
How Come They Make More Than I Do?

Fran Jefferson supervised the Training Department of Metro Bank. One of her star employees, Judy Martin, surprised Fran one day with a job-posting application. Judy wanted to transfer to another department where the employees made more money (in higher evaluated jobs) and supposedly did less work. In the ensuing discussion, Fran learned that Judy was very unhappy with the merit increase she had recently received. Judy believed she could earn more money in the open position, which was three grades higher than the position she currently occupied.
Judy now functioned more as an administrative assistant than as the departmental secretary (the position for which she had been hired). Fran knew that the job evaluation system in use was valid and up-to-date, and that grade differences between Judy’s job and the open position meant real differences in responsibility, skill, and accountability.
Fran did not want to lose Judy.
Answers to Case Questions
1. What are the reasons given by Judy Martin for wanting to post for a position in another department? Which points are accurate and which are debatable?
Judy’s line of reasoning is as follows:
(a) Her recent merit increase was not adequate enough reward for her hard work.
This is Judy’s opinion, and for her, it is true.
(b) There is an open position that would pay much more than what she is making now.
It is true that this open position would pay her more than she is making now.
(c) She has heard that the job in question is easier to do than the one she has now.
Unfortunately, this point is misleading and probably wrong. Her information is based on hearsay. In fact, grade differences of three levels mean these jobs require higher levels of talent, initiative, and responsibility. Judy has confused being busy with working at a higher level of difficulty.
(d) Therefore, she wants to get an easier, higher paying job by moving to that new position.
She might get a higher paying job, but it would not likely be an easier job.
2. How should Fran respond to Judy’s request to transfer?
In many job-posting systems, the posting employee is required to notify his or her supervisor of the intention to post for a position. However, the employee is not required to obtain the supervisor’s permission. To the extent that this rule applies here, Fran cannot do anything but pass along the posting application.
However, it would be prudent of Fran to help Judy make the best career decision in this manner. While agreeing to move the job-posting application along, Fran should also counsel Judy. First, she should encourage Judy to do some career and job informational interviewing. For example, Judy should be encouraged to meet with people in the other department to learn what they really do. Second, she needs to think about what she wants in a job. Finally, Fran should explain to Judy that the jobs are graded differently because there are real and significant differences in the jobs. She should caution Judy that hearsay can be misleading and that she should look at the executive secretary position in terms of levels of skills and accountability, not just in terms of dollar differences.
3. How should Fran respond to Judy’s salary complaints?
It is likely that Judy is motivated in part by her anger and resentment over what she sees as an inadequate recognition of her hard work. Fran should work to communicate her appreciation for Judy’s contributions. In addition, Fran needs to note that Judy is performing a job that is higher than the job for which she was hired. Judy should institute a job re-evaluation request.

Case 2

“She’s a Smart Enough Broad”

Background Information

The young man glanced at the nameplate on his desk after closing the file cabinet drawer: James Washington, Center Manager. He leaned against the cabinet for a moment, smiling and thinking.
James really liked the way that title sounded. And why not? He was only 24 years old, had just completed the company’s Management Associate Trainee Program, and had just assumed the manager’s job at the Northview Servicing Center. He was eager to do a good job in this first assignment, and there was a lot about the job that he liked. However, there was one thing he didn’t like, and he could see her through the glass partition of his office out on the service center’s main floor.
His problem was Dorothy Rogers or, more exactly, the way he felt about her. In his opinion, she was both pushing and resisting him.
Dorothy was something of an established figure at Northview, having worked there for over 12 years as an assistant manager. She was now 59 years old and had dropped hints occasionally about retiring. “If only…,” James thought to himself.
He remembered the first time he met Dorothy about six weeks ago. James had just learned he was being promoted into the Northview manager’s job. He went to visit the service center to meet the personnel and begin the transition process with Hank Waters. Hank was the current manager and was being moved to manage a larger branch of the company closer to his home. He had been at Northview almost two years.
After showing James the facility and introducing some of the sales and service representatives, Hank had walked James to Dorothy’s desk and introduced them. Although she was very pleasant and nice, James watched rather uncomfortably as Hank tried to pass along an assignment to her regarding a customer account investigation. Six weeks later, their exchange, which follows, remained clear in James’s memory.
By the way, Dorothy, can you follow up on the Williams’s account problem we talked about earlier today? I just got word from downtown that…
(interrupting in a soft yet determined voice) Now Hank, you know that if I do that for you, I won’t be able to take care of the budget reconcilement report you have me do each week. Don’t you think you can take care of it yourself?
(pausing a moment, obviously thinking) Well, yes, I know you’re busy. I was just hoping that you could…
(jumping back in, this time with a certain accusatory tone in her voice) Look, Hank, what do you want me to do? I can’t do both. You know I’m busy. (She stares expectantly at Hank; James looks at her desk, which is neat and clean.)
Well, you know… okay, you may be right. Let me go ahead and do it.
(nodding in agreement) That’s better, I think. Don’t you?
Hank had seemed relieved to end the conversation. He walked with James back into his office. Dorothy went to get some coffee.
“She really runs this place,” Hank told James. “I hate to impose. She knows so much about all the operational and service matters of this center.”
James nodded his head. “I guess she must be pretty important.”
Hank hadn’t reacted as he sat behind his desk.
James moved back to the chair behind his desk. He continued to look at Dorothy as she finished working with her customer. He thought back to his first few weeks on the job. At first, Dorothy had been fine and, in fact, very helpful. This was perfect because not only did James still have a great deal to learn about Northview’s operations, he also had a lot of work to do elsewhere. For example, much of his time was spent outside the service center, meeting existing customers, doing sales calls, attending training, and fulfilling similar obligations. In the month that he had been at Northview, he had spent probably no more than a total of five hours with her.
Unfortunately, most of that time with Dorothy had spent sorting out and listening to a problem between her and senior service associate, Bonnie Johnson. Bonnie was Dorothy’s age, but that was about all the two women seemed to have in common, for Bonnie was rather quiet and reserved. James had expressed his interest in Bonnie taking a more active role in working with the other service associates, but Dorothy had not liked that idea, thinking that James was trying to take away some of her job duties. Consequently, she started fighting with Bonnie over any little detail.
James learned about this bickering from comments and meetings with both Dorothy and Bonnie, as well as from some of the center’s other service associates. Last Monday, after what seemed like a week of nonstop arguing, he called them both into his office.

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