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MAJOR TOPICS . Employee Empowerment Defined . Rationale for Empowerment . Inhibitors of Empowerment . Management’s Role in Empowerment . Implementing Empowerment . How to Recognize Empowered Employees . Empowerment Errors to Avoid . Beyond Empowerment to Enlistment




Light is the task where many share the toil. —Homer

dwindled down to one or two a month. Worse, recent suggestion forms have contained derisive remarks about the company and its suggestion system. Productivity has not improved, and morale is worse than before. Monroe is at a loss over what to do. Employee involve-ment was supposed to help, not hurt.

In this example, the CEO involved his employees by asking for their input in the form of suggestions but did not empower them. There are important differences between involvement and empowerment. Involved employees are asked for their input, but they are not given ownership of their jobs. Empowered employees are given ownership of the processes they are responsible for and the products or services generated by those processes. Empowered employ-ees—employees with ownership—take pride in their work and the resulting products or services produced by it. Ownership creates a sense of urgency to continually improve processes, products, and services and to strive for customer delight because “my signature” is on the work. An empow-ered employee will care as much or even more about the quality of the work than the supervisor or the CEO.

How Employee Empowerment Is Achieved In the old days, many managers had the following philoso-phy: Managers think and employees work. Good employees just do what managers tell them . This philosophy is so archaic and ineffective that few managers today would admit to ever subscribing to it. However, there are still many managers who, like the CEO cited in the example at the beginning of this chapter, have trouble bringing themselves to go all the way with empowering employees; they want to stop at just involvement—asking for employee input.

In order to have dedicated, motivated employees who feel a strong sense of ownership—employees who are physically, intellectually, and emotionally involved in their work—management must provide an open, nonthreatening, creative environment that encourages employee involve-ment; expects employees to think; recognizes employee value; and rewards employee ownership of processes, prod-ucts, and services.

Involving people in decisions made relating to their work is a fundamental principle of good management. With total quality, this principle is taken even further. First, employees are involved not only in decision making, but also in the creative thought processes that precede decision making. Second, employees are not just involved; they are empowered. This chapter explains the concepts of involvement and empower-ment, their relationship, and how they can be used to improve competitiveness.

EMPLOYEE EMPOWERMENT DEFINED Employee involvement and empowerment are closely related concepts, but they are not the same. In a total quality setting, employees should be empowered:

James Monroe, CEO of a midsized electronics manu-facturing firm, decided more than a year ago to get his employees involved as a way to improve work and enhance his company’s competitiveness. He called his managers and supervisors together, explained his idea, and had suggestion boxes placed in all departments. At first, the suggestion boxes filled to overflowing. Supervisors emptied them once a week, acted on any suggestions they thought had merit, and discarded the rest. After a couple of months, employee suggestions


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managers’ power. It increases the likelihood that the infor-mation on which decision makers base their decisions is comprehensive and accurate. Empowerment also lets man-agers focus more on the larger decisions because empowered employees don’t have to bring them every little problem that comes up.

An example from medicine illustrates this point. Suppose that a child is gravely ill. Every established medical procedure known has been used without success. The only remaining option is a rarely used and unapproved proce-dure that has been performed by just 10 surgeons. There are variations of the procedure, each carrying its own specific risks as well as its own probability of success.

Because the procedure is not approved, the child’s parents must decide which variation is to be applied. They may simply close their eyes, make a choice, and hope for the best, or they may take another approach in arriving at a decision. That other approach involves soliciting input from the 10 surgeons who have performed the operation in its several variations. The surgeons are willing and eager to give their advice.

Which approach is most likely to produce the best deci-sion? Most people would want to pool the minds of the sur-geons who have performed the operation. They are closest to the job and, therefore, likely to have valuable insight concern-ing how it should be done. Responsibility for ultimately mak-ing the decision still rests with the parents. However, these parents will probably solicit the input of the 10 surgeons in question and give it careful consideration. In other words, although they will ultimately make the decision, the parents in this example will involve and empower the surgeons.

The same concept applies in the workplace. Managers do not abdicate their responsibility by adopting empower-ment. Rather, like the parents in this example, they increase the likelihood of making the best possible decisions and thereby more effectively carry out their responsibility.

RATIONALE FOR EMPOWERMENT Traditionally, working hard was seen as the surest way to succeed. With the advent of global competition and the never-ending need to improve, the key to success became not just working hard but also working smart. In many cases, decision makers in business and industry interpreted working smart as adopting high-tech systems and auto-mated processes. These smarter technologies have made a difference in many cases. However, improved technology is just one aspect of working smarter, and it’s a part that can be quickly neutralized when the competition adopts a similar or even better technology.

An aspect of working smart that is often missing in the modern workplace is involving and empowering employ-ees in ways that take advantage of their creativity and pro-mote independent thinking and initiative on their part. In other words, what’s missing is empowerment. Creative thinking and initiative from as many employees as possible

Facilitating empowerment is an important responsibil-ity of management in a total quality environment. One of the authors personally experienced a powerful example of a top executive using empowerment as a tool for improve-ment. Years ago when the author was first selected to lead the manufacturing component of a large division of a well-known corporation, he was summoned to the office of the general manager—his new boss. The general manager wasted no words. Speaking to the author, he said words to the effect that “You can sit around and continue things as they are and fail, or you can try to make something of manu-facturing. It’s up to you.”

The author immediately understood in deeply per-sonal terms what is meant by the concept of empower-ment. The company’s manufacturing component was in his hands; he had ownership of its success or failure. In order to turn around the company’s manufacturing component, the author would have to be physically, intellectually, and emotionally involved. He also understood immediately that in order to succeed, he would have to cascade the concept of empowerment down through the entire manufacturing organization—all 1,300 personnel. By applying the concept of employee empowerment and the other quality manage-ment concepts presented in this book, the author was able to transform his company’s manufacturing component into the most profitable division in the corporation.

Management Tool or Cultural Change The management strategies developed over the years to improve productivity, quality, cost, service, and response time would make a long list. Is empowerment just another of these management tools, another strategy to add to the list? This is an important question, and it should be dealt with in the earliest stages of implementing empowerment.

Employees who have been around long enough to see several management innovations come and go may be reluc-tant to accept empowerment if they see it as just another short-lived management strategy. This is known as the WOHCAO Syndrome (pronounced WO-KAY-O). WOHCAO is short for “Watch out, here comes another one.”

Successful implementation of empowerment requires change in the corporate culture—a major new direction in how managers think and work. The division of labor between managers and workers changes with empowerment.

Empowerment Does Not Mean Abdication It is not uncommon for traditional managers to view empowerment as an abdication of power. Such managers see involvement and empowerment as turning over control of the company to the employees. In reality, this is hardly the case. Empowerment involves actively soliciting input from those closest to the work and giving those individuals own-ership of their jobs.

Pooling the collective minds of all people involved in a process, if done properly, will enhance rather than diminish


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Unions can be another source of resistance when imple-menting empowerment. Because of the traditional adversar-ial relationship between organized labor and management, unions may be suspicious of management’s motives in implementing empowerment. They might also resent an idea not originated by their own organization. However, unions’ greatest concern is likely to be how empowerment will affect their future. If union leaders think it will diminish the need for their organization, they will throw up roadblocks.

Clear evidence exists that resistance to empowerment on the part of labor unions is becoming less and less an issue. Leaders of some of the largest unions in the United States—including the Communications Workers of America, International Chemical Workers Union, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, and Amalgamated Clothing and Textiles Workers Union—participated in a 2-year study as members of the government-sponsored Economic Policy Productivity Panel, which did much to mitigate the initial concerns of unions about the concept of empowerment.

Resistance from Management Even if employees and labor unions support empowerment, it will not work unless management makes a full and whole-hearted commitment to it. The importance of management commitment cannot be overemphasized. Employees take their cues from management concerning what is important, what the company is committed to, how to behave, and all other aspects of the job. Discussion Assignment 8-1 shows what can result when either a real or a perceived lack of commitment exists on the part of management. Because of a lack of management support, the company referred to in this assignment lost a program that had made substantial improvements in its ability to compete.

Some of the reasons behind management resistance to empowerment include insecurity, personal values, ego, insufficient and ineffective management training, personal-ity characteristics of managers, and exclusion of managers.

Fear of Losing Control An old adage states, “Knowledge is power.” By controlling access to knowledge as well as the

will increase the likelihood of better ideas, better decisions, better quality, better productivity, and, therefore, better competitiveness. The rationale for empowerment is that it represents the best way to bring the creativity and initiative of the best employees to bear on improving the company’s competitiveness.

Human beings are not robots or automatons. While working, they observe, think, sense, and ponder. It is natu-ral for a person to continually ask such questions as the following:

. Why is it done this way?

. How could it be done better?

. Will the customer want the product like this?

Asking such questions is an important step in making improvements. As employees ask questions, they also gener-ate ideas for solutions, particularly when given the opportu-nity to regularly discuss their ideas in a group setting that is positive, supportive, and mutually nurturing.

Empowerment and Motivation One of the most motivating actions a manager can take is to ask the opinions of employees. Doing so says, “You matter.”

Empowerment is sometimes seen by experienced man-agers as just another name for participatory management. However, there is an important distinction between the two. Participatory management is about managers and super-visors asking for their employees’ help. Empowerment is about getting employees to help themselves, each other, and the company. This is why empowerment can be so effec-tive in helping maintain a high level of motivation among employees. It helps employees develop a sense of ownership of their jobs and of the company. This, in turn, leads to a greater willingness on the part of employees to make deci-sions, take risks in an effort to make improvements, and speak out when they disagree.

INHIBITORS OF EMPOWERMENT The primary inhibitor of empowerment, resistance to change, is an indigenous characteristic of human nature. Resistance can be magnified when suspicion replaces trust.

Resistance from Employees and Unions Earlier in this chapter, the WOHCAO Syndrome was dis-cussed. In this syndrome, employees have experienced enough flash-in-the-pan management strategies that either did not work out or were not followed through on that they have become skeptical.

In addition to skepticism, there is the problem of iner-tia. Resistance to change is natural. Even positive change can be uncomfortable for employees because it involves new and unfamiliar territory. However, when recognized for what they are, skepticism and inertia can be overcome. Strategies for doing so are discussed later in this chapter.


Empowerment Is Good for Business

Empowerment is an often misunderstood concept. When organizations give their personnel the autonomy to make decisions within specified parameters or give them a voice in making major decisions, they are not just trying to make the employees feel good. They are trying to improve the performance of the organization. Empowerment will improve the morale in an organization and that is important, but what is even more important is that it will improve performance, productivity, quality, and competitiveness. Empowerment is important because it leads to good business.


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are examples of science applied to workplace improvement. However, unlike Taylor’s followers, proponents of total qual-ity involve employees in the application of these scientific methods. Management schools that still cling, even subtly, to the management-as-thinkers and labor-as-doers philosophy produce graduates who are likely to resist empowerment. Experienced managers who were schooled in this philosophy in years past and have practiced it throughout their careers are also likely to resist empowerment.

Old-School Syndrome Old-school managers are often found to be more task oriented than people oriented. They tend to focus more on the task at hand and getting it done than on the people who actually perform the task.

Consider the case of a fictitious manager named Wanda Brown. Wanda is a task-oriented manager. Before her promotion, she did most of the work associated with task accomplishment herself. Her dependence on and interaction with other employees was minimal. As a result, Wanda’s task-oriented personality served her and the company well. Now, as a manager, she is responsible for organizing work and getting it done by others.

In this new setting, Wanda has found that the quality and quantity of employees’ work can be affected by prob-lems they are having. She has found that, in spite of her well-earned reputation for getting the job done, other employees have ideas of their own about workplace improvements and that they want their ideas to be heard and given serious con-sideration. Finally, Wanda has learned that employees have feelings, egos, and personal agendas and that these things can affect their work. Managers such as Wanda who have a strong task orientation are not likely to support efforts such as empowerment that call for a balanced attitude in which the manager is concerned with both tasks and people (see Figure 8–1 ).

Fear of Exclusion Empowerment is about the total involvement of all personnel who will be affected by an idea or a decision. This includes the first level of manage-ment (supervisors), middle-level management, and execu-tive management. Any manager or level of management excluded from the process can be expected to resist. Even with a full commitment from executives and enthusiastic support from employees, empowerment will not succeed if middle-level managers and supervisors are excluded. Those

day-to-day flow of knowledge, managers can maintain power over employees. Managers who view the workplace from an “us-against-them” perspective tend to be insecure about any initiative they perceive as diminishing their power. Another source of management insecurity is accountability. Pooling the minds of employees for the purpose of making work-place improvements is a sure way to identify problems, roadblocks, and inhibitors. Some managers fear they will be revealed as the culprit in such a process. The natural reac-tion of an individual who feels threatened is to resist the source of the threat. Managers are no different in experienc-ing this feeling.

I’m-the-Boss Syndrome Many of today’s managers have a dogmatic mindset when it comes to working with employees. This means they think employees should do what they are told, when they are told, and how they are told. Such a value system does not promote empowerment. Managers who feel this way will resist involvement and empowerment as being inappropriate. They are likely to think, “There can be only one boss around here, and that boss is me.”

Status People who become managers may be understand-ably proud of their status and protective of the perquisites that accompany it. Status appeals to the human ego, and ego-focused managers may project an “I am the boss” atti-tude. Such managers may have difficulty reining in their egos enough to be effective participants in an approach they view as an encroachment on territory that should be exclusively theirs.

Outdated Management Training Many of today’s managers were educated and trained by modern disciples of Frederick Taylor, the founder of “scientific management.” Taylor’s followers, whether university professors or manage-ment trainers, tend to focus on applying scientific principles to the improvement of processes and technology. Less atten-tion is given to people-oriented improvements.

Such approaches are inappropriate in the modern work-place. Nevertheless, vestiges of Taylor’s school of thought remain in college management programs throughout the United States. Actually, much of what Taylor professed about applying scientific principles in improving the workplace is valid and has gained new status with the advent of total qual-ity. Function analysis, statistical process control (SPC), and just-in-time (JIT) manufacturing—all total quality tools—

FIGURE 8–1 Orientation of Managers


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the boundaries. What decisions will they be able to make themselves or within their work teams? Employees should know the answers to all of these questions before being empowered.

An employee who does not know where the organi-zation is going will be unable to help it get there. Before empowering employees, it is wise to educate them concern-ing the organization’s strategic plan and their role relative to it. When employees can see the goal, they are better able to help the organization reach it.

Organizational Structure and Management Practices Most resistance to empowerment is attitudinal, as the inhib-itors explained so far show. However, a company’s organi-zational structure and its management practices can also mitigate against the successful implementation of empower-ment. Before attempting to implement empowerment, ask these questions:

. How many layers of management are there between workers and decision makers?

. Does the employee performance-appraisal system encourage or discourage initiative and risk taking?

. Do management practices encourage employees to speak out against policies and procedures that inhibit quality and productivity?

Employees, like most people, will become frustrated if their ideas have to work their way through a bureaucratic maze before reaching a decision maker. Prompt feedback on suggestions for improvement is essential to the success of empowerment. Too many layers of managers who can say no between employees and decision makers who can say yes will inhibit and eventually kill risk taking and initiative on the part of employees.

Risk-taking employees will occasionally make mistakes or try ideas that don’t work. If this reflects negatively in their performance appraisals, initiative will be replaced by a play-it-safe approach. This also applies to constructive criticism of company policies and management practices. Are employees who offer constructive criticism considered problem solvers or troublemakers? Managers’ attitudes toward constructive criticism will determine whether they receive any. A positive, open attitude in such cases is essen-tial. The free flow of constructive criticism is a fundamental element of empowerment.

MANAGEMENT’S ROLE IN EMPOWERMENT Management’s role in empowerment can be stated simply. It is to do everything necessary to ensure successful implementa-tion and ongoing application of the concept. Everything man-agement does to promote empowerment should have the goal of establishing a creative, open, nonthreatening environment

who are excluded, even if they agree conceptually, may resist simply because they feel left out.

Workforce Readiness An inhibitor of employee empowerment that receives little attention in the literature is workforce readiness. Empowerment will fail quickly if employees are not ready to be empowered. In fact, empowering employees who are not prepared for the responsibilities involved can be worse than not empowering them at all. On the other hand, a lack of readiness—even though it may exist—should not be used as an excuse for failing to empower employees. The challenge to management is twofold: (a) determine whether the work-force is ready for empowerment and (b) if it is not ready, get it ready.

How, then, does one know whether the workforce is ready for empowerment? One rule of thumb is that the more highly educated the workforce, the more ready its members will be for empowerment. Because well-educated people are accustomed to critical thinking, they are experienced in decision making, and they tend to make a point of being well-informed concerning issues that affect their work. This does not mean, however, that less educated employees should be excluded. Rather, it means that they may need to be prepared before being included.

In determining whether employees are ready for empowerment, ask the following questions:

. Are the employees accustomed to critical thinking?

. Are the employees knowledgeable of the decision-making process and their role with regard to it?

. Are the employees fully informed of the “big picture” and where they fit into it?

Unless the answer to all three of these questions is yes, the workforce is not ready for empowerment. An empowered employee must be able to think critically. It should be sec-ond nature for an employee to ask such questions as these: Is there a better way to do this? Why do we do it this way? Could the goal be accomplished some other way? Is there another way to look at this problem? Is this problem really an opportunity to improve things?

These are the types of questions that lead to contin-ual improvement of processes and effective solutions to problems. These are the sorts of questions that empow-ered employees should ask all the time about everything. Employees who are unaccustomed to asking questions such as these should be taught to do so before being empowered.

Employees should understand the decision-making process, both on a conceptual level and on a practical level (e.g., how decisions are made in their organization). Being empowered does not mean making decisions. Rather, it means being made a part of the decision-making proc-ess. Before empowering employees, it is important to show them what empowerment will mean on a practical level. How will they be empowered? Where will they fit into the decision-making process? They also need to be aware of


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IMPLEMENTING EMPOWERMENT Figure 8–3 shows the four broad steps in the implementa-tion of empowerment. Creating a workplace environment that is positive toward and supportive of empowerment so that risk taking and individual initiative are encouraged is critical. Targeting and overcoming inhibitors of empower-ment are also critical. These two steps were discussed earlier in this chapter. The third step is dealt with in this section. The fourth step is the standard management strategy of checking progress (assessing), making any adjustments that might be necessary, and continually improving.

Putting the Vehicles in Place A number of different types of vehicles can be used for col-lecting input from empowered employees and getting it into decision-making channels. Such vehicles range from simply walking around the workplace and asking employees for their input, to holding periodic brainstorming sessions, to regularly scheduling quality circles. Widely used methods that are typically the most effective are explained in the fol-lowing subsections:

Brainstorming With brainstorming, managers serve as catalysts in drawing out group members. Participants are encouraged to share any ideas that come to mind. All ideas are considered valid. Participants are not allowed to make judgmental comments or to evaluate the suggestions made. Typically, one member of the group is asked to serve as a recorder. All ideas suggested are recorded, preferably on a marker board, flipchart, or other medium that allows group members to review them continually.

After all ideas have been recorded, the evaluation proc-ess begins. Participants are asked to go through the list one item at a time, weighing the relative merits of each. This

in which involved, motivated, dedicated employees can flour-ish. The three words that best describe management’s role in empowerment are commitment, leadership , and facilitation (see Figure 8–2 ). All three functions are required to break down the barriers and overcome the inherent resistance often associated with implementation of empowerment or with any other major change in the corporate culture.

The manager’s role in empowerment can be broken down into the following more specific behaviors by category:

. Commitment. Being consistently supportive of empowerment and reinforcing it in tangible ways.

. Leadership. Promoting empowerment by being a con-sistent role model, mentor, and trainer.

. Facilitation. Monitoring constantly to ensure that employees are being empowered and acting quickly on employee recommendations.

FIGURE 8–2 Management’s Role in Empowerment

FIGURE 8–3 Steps in Implementing Empowerment


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among group members during this step. Taking the ideas one at a time from group members ensures a mix of recorded ideas, making it more difficult for members to recall what ideas belong to which individual.

In the fourth step, recorded ideas are clarified to ensure that group members understand what is meant by each. A group member may be asked to explain an idea, but no com-ments or judgmental gestures are allowed from other mem-bers. The member clarifying the ideas is not allowed to make justifications. The goal in this step is simply to ensure that all ideas are clearly understood.

In the final step, the ideas are voted on silently. There are a number of ways to accomplish this. One simple tech-nique is to ask all group members to record the numbers of their five favorite ideas on five separate 3 × 5 cards. Each member then prioritizes his or her five cards by assigning them a number ranging from 1 (worst idea) to 5 (best idea). The cards are collected and the points assigned to ideas are recorded on the marker board or flipchart. After this proc-ess has been accomplished for all five cards of all group members, the points are tallied. The idea receiving the most points is selected as the best idea.

Quality Circles A quality circle is a group of employees that meets regularly for the purpose of identifying, recom-mending, and making workplace improvements. A key dif-ference between quality circles and brainstorming is that quality circle members are volunteers who convene them-selves and conduct their own meetings. Brainstorming

process is repeated until the group narrows the choices to a specified number. For example, managers may ask the group to reduce the number of alternatives to three, reserving the selection of the best of the three to themselves.

Brainstorming can be an effective vehicle for collect-ing employee input and feedback, particularly if managers understand the weaknesses associated with it and how they can be overcome. Managers interested in soliciting employee input through brainstorming should be familiar with the concepts of groupthink and groupshift. These two concepts can undermine the effectiveness of brainstorming and other group techniques.

Groupthink is the phenomenon that exists when people in a group focus more on reaching a decision than on mak-ing a good decision. A number of factors can contribute to groupthink, including overly prescriptive group leadership, peer pressure for conformity, group isolation, and unskilled application of group decision-making techniques. The fol-lowing strategies will help overcome groupthink: 1

. Encourage criticism.

. Encourage the development of several alternatives. Do not allow the group to rush to a hasty decision.

. Assign a member or members to play the role of devil’s advocate.

. Include people who are not familiar with the issue.

. Hold last-chance meetings. When a decision is reached, arrange a follow-up meeting a few days later. After group members have had time to think things over, they may have second thoughts. Last-chance meetings give employees an opportunity to voice their second thoughts.

Groupshift is the phenomenon that exists when group members exaggerate their initial position, hoping that the eventual decision will be what they really want. 2 If group members get together prior to a meeting and decide to take an overly risky or unduly conservative view, this can be dif-ficult to surmount. Managers can help minimize the effects of groupshift by discouraging reinforcement of initial points of view and by assigning group members to serve as devil’s advocates.

Nominal Group Technique The nominal group technique (NGT) is a sophisticated form of brainstorming involving five steps (see Figure 8–4 ). In the first step, the manager states the problem and provides clarification if necessary to make sure all group members understand. In the second step, each group member silently records his or her ideas. At this point, there is no discussion among group members. This strategy promotes free and open thinking unimpeded by judgmental comments or peer pressure.

In the third step, the ideas of individual members are made public by asking each member to share one idea with the group. The ideas are recorded on a marker board or flipchart. The process is repeated until all ideas have been recorded. Each idea is numbered. There is no discussion

FIGURE 8–4 Steps in Nominal Group Technique (NGT)


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comparisons will help leaders in an organization determine whether they have empowered employees. These will also help leaders to determine whether employees are required to do things as they have always been done by supervisors who talk about empowerment but do not really believe in it. The comparisons are as follows:

. Waiting to be told versus taking the initiative. Do employees wait to be told what to do or do they take the initiative in situations that are new, different, or ambig-uous? Empowered employees will face ambiguous situ-ations by taking the initiative to define the problem, consider alternative solutions, and move ahead with a solution.

. Seeing only problems versus seeing opportuni-ties. When things go wrong do employees see only the problems or do they also see opportunities for improve-ment, learning, and professional growth? Rather than wringing their hands and fretting, empowered employ-ees will turn problems into opportunities. Some of the best quality improvements come from approaching problems as opportunities.

. Accepting input at face value versus thinking criti-cally. Do employees accept anything they are told at face value or do they think critically about the input they receive? Empowered employees apply logic, use reasoning, and call on their experience to challenge assumptions and question the status quo.

. Pass decisions up the line versus building consensus for solutions. Do employees pass the buck up the line when decisions must be made about solving problems or do they propose a solution and try to build consensus for it? Empowered employees do not let the fear of mak-ing a mistake prevent them from proposing solutions and seeking support for implementing them.

No matter what an organization’s supervisors and lead-ers say about empowerment, and no matter how elaborate the systems put in place to promote empowerment are, employees are not empowered until they are willing and able to take the initiative when action is needed, identify opportunities for continual improvement in the problems that occur, build consensus for a given action or decision, and think critically when considering actions, decisions, and assumptions.

EMPOWERMENT ERRORS TO AVOID Empowerment can be a powerful tool for continually improving quality, cost, service, productivity, performance, and competitiveness. Consequently, empowerment is an essential strategy for achieving total quality. It is also a con-cept that can quickly go awry unless the necessary founda-tion is in place to support it. Empowering an employee who has never been empowered is like giving a lot of money to an individual who has never had any. He is not likely to handle

sessions are typically convened and conducted by a manager. A quality circle has a team leader who acts as a facilitator, and the group may use brainstorming, NGT, or other group tech-niques; however, the team leader is typically not a manager and may, in fact, be a different group member at each meet-ing. Quality circles meet regularly before, during, or after a shift to discuss their work, anticipate problems, propose workplace improvements, set goals, and make plans.

Suggestion Boxes This vehicle is perhaps the oldest method used for collecting employee input and feedback. It once consisted of placing receptacles in convenient locations into which employees may put written suggestions. In the age of computers, suggestion systems are now more likely to be online. Suggestions may be made by individuals or teams, and they require an explanation of the current situ-ation, proposed improvements, and benefits expected from the improvements. The authors do not subscribe to sugges-tion systems, thinking they are the least effective approach to empowerment.

Walking and Talking Simply walking around the workplace and talking with employees can be an effective way to solicit input. As mentioned earlier, this approach is sometimes referred to as management-by-walking-around (MBWA). An effective way to prompt employee input is to ask questions. This approach may be necessary to get the ball rolling, particularly when empowerment is still new and not yet fully accepted by employees. In such cases, it is important to ask the right questions and to use open-ended questions.

Regardless of the vehicles used for soliciting employee input, organizations need to continually improve the process.

HOW TO RECOGNIZE EMPOWERED EMPLOYEES There will always be managers and supervisors who resist the concept of empowerment out of fear of losing control or losing their authority. Some will give lip service to empower-ment while continuing to do things the same way they always have. How can an organization’s leaders know that their empowerment efforts are working? In other words, how does one recognize an empowered employee? The following


Empowering Employees Requires Humility from Organizational Leaders

One of the reasons that some leaders in organizations struggle with empowerment is that they think they know so much more than those who report to them. It is difficult for some people to realize that others have knowledge, ideas, vision, and problem-solving skills too. This is why empowering employees requires humility from organizational leaders. The first step toward effective empowerment is admitting that you do not know everything.


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to problems. Empowerment is now widely accepted and practiced in competitive organizations. What, then, is next? How can organizations go beyond involvement and empowerment?

To answer this question, it is necessary to view the issue as a continuum, as shown in Figure 8–5 . The extreme left-hand position (zero) on the continuum represents the old management philosophy that managers think and employees work . Organizations that practice this philosophy neither seek nor allow employee input.

The next position (1) on the continuum is employee involvement. Organizations that practice employee involve-ment provide various mechanisms that allow employees to submit input concerning decisions that affect them. Involvement is a passive approach that allows employees to submit input.

The next position (2) on the continuum is employee empowerment. Organizations that practice employee empow-erment don’t just allow employee input—they actively seek it. Empowerment is an active approach in which employee input is sought and used. Empowered employees provide input concerning decisions that affect them and can apply their own ingenuity in seeking improvements themselves within specified limits. Like involvement, empowerment allows employees to be part of the decision-making process and to own their jobs.

The extreme right-hand position (3) on the continuum is employee enlistment . Enlistment goes beyond empower-ment in that it not only allows employees to own their jobs and to innovate, but also expects them to do so. Mechanisms that allow employees to be a part of the decision-making process also let them not be a part. In other words, with involvement and empowerment, employees can choose not to participate; they can simply opt out. Employees who do this deny organizations the benefit of their knowledge, expe-rience, point of view, and ingenuity.

Organizations trying to survive and thrive in a competi-tive environment need their employees to bring all of their intellectual tools to bear on continual improvement every day. To do this, they must go beyond empowerment to enlistment. Employee enlistment means not simply empow-ering employees to participate in the decision-making proc-ess but also expecting them to do so.

Every employee is a valuable resource. Consequently, organizations need to make full use of employees. This cannot be done if employees opt out of participating in the decision-making process, which is what employees do

it well. Consequently, it is important for organizations that want to use empowerment as a total-quality strategy to pre-pare both managers and employees.

The following precautions will help organizations avoid the most common empowerment errors:

. Clearly defining what empowerment means in the organization. One of the authors once worked for a company that hoped to use empowerment to improve responsiveness to customer needs. The word was passed that all personnel at or above a certain level were empowered to do whatever was necessary to meet a customer’s needs. The CEO assumed that personnel in these specified positions would apply common sense. Bad assumption. A project engineer received a call from a customer who was expecting one of our products to be delivered two hours earlier. The customer was upset and angry. He needed that part. This was before the days of overnight shipping. After some discussion, the engineer called a local airport and chartered a small airplane to deliver the part. When the bill showed up in the accounting department, the fur began to fly. The CEO was forced to step back and do a better job defin-ing what empowerment meant on a practical level by establishing appropriate parameters.

. Provide empowerment training for all personnel. In order to gain the benefits of empowerment, organiza-tions need their personnel to know more than just the parameters. They also need them to know how to be: (1) critical thinkers and (2) good decision makers. Never assume that anyone at any level is a critical thinker or a good decision maker. Instead, provide training for all personnel in these critical skills. Follow up the training with mentoring. Make sure the training includes hands-on simulations that reflect the types of situations per-sonnel are likely to face and the types of decisions they may have to make when empowered.

. Do not rush or become impatient. Organizations that have never empowered their personnel can-not be expected to go and apply the traditional mode to empowerment overnight. The transition will take time—it is a growing process that should not be rushed. Do not become impatient. Give attitudes, perspectives, and skills time to develop. Further and perhaps most important, understand that the newly empowered per-sonnel are going to make mistakes. Properly applying the concept of empowerment is like learning to roller skate. You are going to fall down a few times before you finally get the knack of it.

BEYOND EMPOWERMENT TO ENLISTMENT Involvement and empowerment focus the experience, knowledge, creativity, and ideas of a broad cross-section of stakeholders on a problem. By involving and empow-ering stakeholders, organizations find better solutions

FIGURE 8–5 Involvement–Empowerment–Enlistment Continuum


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counts is well-thought-out input. Don’t reward frivo-lous participation.

. In meetings, call on the wallflowers. Don’t let employees just be present in the room; expect them to be engaged.

. Make enlistment a guiding principle in the organiza-tion’s strategic plan and an organizational value that becomes part of the corporate structure.

when they fail to provide input. Some strategies that will help organizations move beyond empowerment to enlist-ment are these:

. Make it clear to all employees that their ownership is not just wanted and needed but also expected.

. Make ownership a criterion in the performance appraisal process. However, make it clear that what


1. Empowerment means engaging employees in the think-ing processes of an organization in ways that matter. Involvement means having input. Empowerment means having input that is heard and used, and it means giv-ing employees ownership of their jobs. Empowerment requires a change in the organizational culture, but it does not mean that managers abdicate their responsibil-ity or authority.

2. The rationale for empowerment is that it is the best way to increase creative thinking and initiative on the part of employees. This, in turn, is an excellent way to enhance an organization’s competitiveness. Another aspect of the rationale for empowerment is that it can be an out-standing motivator.

3. The primary inhibitor of empowerment is resistance to change. Resistance might come from employees, unions, and management. Management-related inhibi-tors include insecurity, personal values, ego, manage-ment training, personality characteristics, exclusion, organizational structure, and management practices.

4. Management’s role in empowerment is best described as commitment, leadership, and facilitation. The kinds of support managers can provide include having a support-ive attitude, role modeling, training, facilitating, employ-ing MBWA, taking quick action on recommendations, and recognizing the accomplishments of employees.

5. The implementation of empowerment has four broad steps: creating a supportive environment; targeting and overcoming inhibitors; putting the vehicles in place; and assessing, adjusting, and improving. Vehicles include brainstorming, nominal group technique (NGT), qual-ity circles, suggestion boxes, and walking and talking.

6. A workforce that is ready for empowerment is accustomed to critical thinking, understands the decision- making process, and knows where it fits into the big picture.

7. Enlistment is empowerment is which ownership is not just allowed but also expected.













Nominal group technique (NGT)

Risk taking


1. Define the term empowerment , being sure to distinguish between involvement and empowerment .

2. Explain the following statement: “Successful implemen-tation of empowerment requires change in the corporate culture.”

3. Give a brief rationale for empowerment.

4. What is the relationship between empowerment and motivation?

5. List three inhibitors of empowerment and how they can be overcome.

6. Explain the various root causes of management resist-ance to empowerment.

7. In what ways can an organization’s structure and man-agement practices inhibit empowerment?

8. Describe management’s role in empowerment.

9. Describe how to use brainstorming to promote empow-erment.

10. What is a quality circle?

11. Describe the concept of MBWA.

12. Explain the concept of workforce readiness as it relates to empowerment.

13. Distinguish between empowerment and enlistment.


Empowerment Can Be a Tough Sell “We are the market leader in our field,” said Mark Hansen, CEO of Gosport Shipbuilding Inc. (GSI). “I built this


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Employee Empowerment 123

schedule. She used this ability to quickly climb from the bot-tom of the ladder to the top in her department.

Now, as manager, things seem to be falling apart for Wanda. Rather than focusing exclusively on tasks, she is finding it necessary to deal with people. Often Wanda’s sub-ordinates don’t agree with her concern over how best to do the job. They have ideas, problems, and feelings—none of which Wanda wants to hear about. Her attitude is “Forget your ideas, problems, and feelings; just focus on your work and do it my way.”

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS Discuss the following questions in class or outside of class with your fellow students: 1. Why might it be difficult for a manager who used to be

a talented technician to let employees do their jobs?

2. What personal inhibitors will such an individual have to overcome to empower his or her employees?


Patagonia’s Opportunity for Improvement Program Patagonia is a world-leading textile manufacturer that spe-cializes in clothing for children and adults. Employees are the primary source of workplace improvements in this company, where empowerment is the norm and the sug-gestion system is called the Opportunity for Improvement Program. Patagonia employees submit written suggestions on a form that asks three questions: “What needs improve-ment?” “Why?” and “How should the improvements be implemented?” Employees keep a copy of their suggestion, send one to their supervisor, and send one to a central office where it is entered into a suggestions database and tracked. Rewards for suggestions that are implemented range from token gifts such as movie tickets to paid adventure holidays.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS Discuss the following questions in class or outside of class with your fellow students: 1. How does an organization know whether its suggestion

system is worth the time and effort needed to make it work?

2. If a suggestion system is costing more to operate than it is generating in terms of improvements, how would you respond?


1. James Fraser, “Overcoming Groupthink to Improve Board Decision Making.” Retrieved from www.rtc-nacd.org/PastProgramTopics/tabid/61/Default.aspx on March 2, 2011.

2. Ibid.

company from the ground up. I know more about con-structing gambling ships than anybody in the business. That’s why we are number one. My motto is ‘I think and employees work.’ This empowerment nonsense you’re sell-ing is just that—nonsense. If I want an employee’s opinion, I’ll give it to him!”

Luke O’Hara, GSI’s new quality director, listened respectfully as his boss ranted on. But he had to admit that Hansen had a point. GSI’s CEO could do every job in the yard better than the best employees on the payroll. He was also right about GSI’s position of market leadership. He thought, “Employee empowerment is going to be a tough sell with Hansen. After all, strip away the bombast and what the CEO is saying is ‘Why fix what isn’t broken?’”

Put yourself in Luke O’Hara’s place. You’re the new quality director and want to convince your new boss of the benefits of employee empowerment. How would you per-suade Mark Hansen to change his mind?


A Lack of Management Commitment The employees of a midsized printed circuit-board man-ufacturer had been excited about their empowerment program during its first several months of operation. A number of solid suggestions for improvement had been made, accepted, and implemented, saving the company substantial amounts of money by reducing throughput time by 19%. During this period, the management was very supportive. Because of its new employee-driven competi-tiveness, the company became a hot item and was sold at a sizable profit. The new management team voiced agree-ment with the empowerment program, but it soon became apparent that management support was hollow and half-hearted at best. Within 3 months of the sale, employee interest in the program had died, and the program had been dissolved.

DISCUSSION QUESTION Discuss the following question in class or outside of class with your fellow students: 1. If you were the quality manager for this company and

the employee empowerment effort had been your idea, how would you have gained a commitment to it from the new management team?


The Task-Oriented Manager Wanda Brown had worked hard to achieve her rapid advancement from shipping/receiving clerk to shipping/receiving manager. She had an uncanny ability to focus on a task, break it into its component parts, arrange the parts in a logical sequence, and tackle each part in order until the entire task has been accomplished—usually well-ahead of


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MAJOR TOPICS . Leadership Defined . Leadership for Quality . Leadership Skills: Inherited or Learned? . Leadership, Motivation, and Inspiration . Leadership Styles . Leadership Style in a Total Quality Setting . Building and Maintaining a Following . Leadership versus Management . Leadership and Ethics . Employees and Managers on Change . Restructuring and Change . How to Lead Change . Lessons from Distinguished Leaders . Servant Leadership and Stewardship . Negative Influences on Leaders: How to

Counter Them . Leaders as Mentors

There is no way to make people like change. You can only make them feel less threatened by it. —Frederick Hayes

Where good leadership exists, work is accom-plished by teams. These teams are built deliberately, nurtured carefully, and improved continually. This chapter explains the concepts of leadership and lead-ership during times of change—and how they are applied in a total quality setting.

LEADERSHIP DEFINED Leadership can be defined in many different ways, partly because it has been examined from the perspective of so many different fields of endeavor. Leadership has been defined as it applies to the military, athletics, education, business, industry, and many other fields. For the purpose of this book, leadership is defined as it relates specifically to total quality:

Leadership is the ability to inspire people to make a total, willing, and voluntary commitment to accom-plishing or exceeding organizational goals.

This definition contains a key concept that makes it particularly applicable in a total quality setting: the concept of inspiring people. Inspiring people is a higher order of human interaction than motivating them, which is a concept more frequently used in defining leadership. Inspiration , as used here, means motivation that has been internalized and, therefore, comes from within employees, as opposed to motivation that is simply a temporary response to exter-nal stimuli. Motivated employees commit to the organiza-tion’s goals. Inspired employees make those goals their own. When employees are inspired, the total, willing, and volun-tary commitment described in the definition follows natu-rally. Leaders must be able to apply positive influence, build consensus, overcome resistance, set a consistently positive example, endure criticism, persevere against doubt, com-municate effectively, and convince followers to go where they may not yet be ready to go.

What Leaders Do Leaders inspire others to commit to something bigger than themselves—the organization’s

Leadership is an intangible concept that produces tan-gible results. It is referred to sometimes as an art and at other times as a science. In reality, leadership is both an art and a science.

The impact of good leadership can be readily seen in any organization where it exists. Well-led organi-zations, whether they are large companies or small departments within a company, share several easily identifiable characteristics:

. High levels of productivity

. Positive, can-do attitudes

. Commitment to accomplishing organizational goals

. Effective, efficient use of resources

. High levels of quality

. Mutually supportive teamwork approach to getting work done




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Leadership and Change 125

Managers who project a “Do as I say, not as I do” attitude will not be effective leaders. To inspire employees, manag-ers must be willing to do what they expect of workers, do it better, do it right, and do so consistently. If, for example, dependability is important, managers must set a consist-ent example of dependability. If punctuality is important, a manager must set a consistent example of punctuality. To be a good leader, a manager must set a consistent example of all characteristics that are important on the job.

Good leaders are good communicators. They are will-ing, patient, skilled listeners. They are also able to commu-nicate their ideas clearly, succinctly, and in a nonthreatening manner. They use their communication skills to establish and nurture rapport with employees. Good leaders have influence with employees and use it in a positive manner. Influence is the art of using power to move people toward a certain end or point of view. The power of managers derives from the authority that goes with their jobs and the cred-ibility they establish by being good leaders. Power is useless unless it is converted to influence. Power that is properly, appropriately, and effectively applied becomes positive influence.

Finally, good leaders are persuasive. Managers who expect people to simply do what they are ordered to do will have limited success. Those who are able to use their communication skills and influence to persuade people to their point of view and to help people make a total, willing, and voluntary commitment to that point of view can have unlimited success.

vision, mission, and goals. They do so using the following leadership techniques:

. Aligning personnel with the vision. Leaders do more than just conveying the vision to their personnel. They help them see why it is a positive and commendable vision—one that is worthy of their commitment.

. Provide a sense of direction. Leaders make sure their personnel know where the organization is trying to go and what it is trying to do by helping them understand the organization’s mission and goals.

. Communicating effectively and often. Leaders make sure their personnel have the information they need to achieve consistent peak performance. They keep them up-to-date and well-informed.

. Empowering. Leaders empower their personnel to do the jobs they were hired to do by (1) identifying the parameters within which they may make unilateral deci-sions, (2) seeking their input before making decisions that they will have to carry out, (3) encouraging them to think critically and creatively to find ways to continu-ally improve quality, cost, and service, (4) encouraging them to take the initiative to solve problems, and (5) treating mistakes made, when taking the initiative, as learning opportunities.

. Training and mentoring. Leaders develop their personnel constantly through both mentoring and training. Every problem is approached as a learning activity and every weakness observed becomes a target for improvement.

What Is a Good Leader? Good leaders come in all shapes, sizes, genders, ages, races, political persuasions, and national origins. They do not look alike, talk alike, or even work alike. However, good lead-ers do share several common characteristics. These are the characteristics necessary to inspire people to make a total, willing, and voluntary commitment. Regardless of their backgrounds, good leaders exhibit the characteristics shown in Figure 9–1 .

Good leaders are committed to both the job to be done and the people who must do it, and they are able to strike the appropriate balance between the two. Good leaders project a positive example at all times. They are good role models.

FIGURE 9–1 Characteristics of Good Leaders


Organizational Leadership in India

“The leaders of India’s biggest and fastest-growing companies take an internally focused, long-term view and put motivating and developing employees higher on the priority list than short-term shareholder interests.” Source: Peter Capelli, Harbir Singh, Jitendra V. Singh, and Michael Useem, “Leadership Lessons from India,” Harvard Business Review (March 2010), 93.


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charisma than that of Lincoln of Illinois, the raw-boned, uncouth, backwoodsman of 1860. John F. Kennedy may have been the most charismatic person ever to occupy the White House, yet few presidents got as little done. 2

Those who place image above substance and try to lead by charisma alone are misleaders, not leaders. What follows are several criteria Drucker uses to distinguish leaders from misleaders: 3

. Leaders define and clearly articulate the organization’s mission.

. Leaders set goals, priorities, and standards.

. Leaders see leadership as a responsibility rather than a privilege of rank.

. Leaders surround themselves with knowledgeable, strong people who can make a contribution.

. Leaders earn trust, respect, and integrity.

Myths about Leadership Over the years, a number of myths have grown up about the subject of leadership. Managers in a total quality setting should be aware of these myths and be able to dispel them. Following are some common myths about leadership that are then dispelled by the authors: 4

. Leadership is a rare skill. Although it is true that few great leaders of world renown exist, many good, effec-tive leaders do. Renowned leaders such as Winston Churchill were simply good leaders given the oppor-tunity to participate in monumental events (World War II in Churchill’s case). Another example is General Norman Schwarzkopf. He had always been an effective military leader. That’s how he became a general. But it took a monumental event—the first Gulf War—coupled with his leadership ability to make General Schwarzkopf a world-renowned leader. His leadership skills didn’t appear suddenly; he had them all along. Circ*mstances allowed them to be displayed on the world stage.

Most effective leaders spend their careers in virtual anonymity, but they exist in surprisingly large numbers, and there may be little or no correlation between their ability to lead and their relative positions in an organi-zation. The best leader in a company may be the low-est paid wage earner, and the worst may be the CEO. In addition, a person may be a leader in one setting and not in another. For example, a person who shows no leader-ship ability at work may be an effective leader in his or her church. One of the keys to success in a total quality setting is to create an environment that brings out the leadership skills of all employees at all levels and focuses them on continually improving competitiveness.

. Leaders are born, not made. This myth will be addressed later in this chapter. Suffice it to say here that leadership, attitudes, and behaviors can be learned, even by those who do not appear to have inborn leadership potential.

Follow First—Then Lead There is an old saying in the military: You have to learn how to take orders before you can give them. There is an important message contained in this saying that has relevance for those who hope to be leaders, regardless of the type of organiza-tion. Another way to convey the same message is this: Follow first—then lead. Part of the dues paid by leaders is that before they could lead, they first had to follow.

People who have never had to follow the lead of others typically make poor leaders. There are two reasons for this. First, having never followed they cannot empathize with those they are now trying to lead, and empathy is an impor-tant leadership trait. One of the reasons good leaders subject themselves to the same circ*mstances and conditions their followers must face is that doing so helps them empathize. For example, leaders who go home on time every night while expecting their team members to work late cannot empa-thize with them—they cannot understand how working late very night affects them. However, those who work late with their team members will understand how the late nights affect them and their families.

Second, leaders who have never followed the lead of others, have no credibility with their followers. This can be a difficult weakness to overcome because credibility is essen-tial to leaders. People do not like to follow those who have never done what they ask their followers to do. One of the authors once served in the military under an officer who had flunked out of flight training and was, therefore, transferred to the infantry. When this officer would order his platoon to assault a particular objective, the response was lukewarm at best because having never assaulted an enemy position him-self he had no credibility amongst his men.

The lesson in this for those who hope to become organ-izational leaders is simple: Pay your dues. Be a good team player before you try to become a team leader. Do not skip steps that are essential building blocks for the budding leader. Learn what it is like to carry out an order you disa-gree with or a decision that runs counter to what you would recommend. Develop a reputation as a good team player. Follow first—then lead.

Leaders versus Misleaders In his book Managing for the Future: The 1990s and Beyond , Peter Drucker makes the point that leadership is not a function of charisma. 1 Too many managers have been led to believe that dressing for success and developing a char-ismatic personality are the keys to being a good leader. Although there is something to be said for personal appear-ance and charisma is certainly a positive quality, one should not make the mistake of confusing image with substance.

Some of the world’s most effective leaders have had lit-tle or no charisma:

Dwight Eisenhower, George Marshall, and Harry Truman were singularly effective leaders, yet none possessed any more charisma than a dead mackerel. No one had less


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Leadership and Change 127

. Quality

. Value

. Productivity

. Service

. Market share

. Longevity

. Business expansion (more jobs and opportunities for advancement)

. Return on investment

Key Elements of Leadership for Quality The key elements of leadership for quality include the following:

Customer Focus Leadership for quality requires a cus-tomer focus. This means the organization’s primary goal is to meet or exceed customer expectations in a way that gives the customer lasting value. In a total quality setting, there are both internal and external customers. Internal customers are employees within the organization whose work depends on the work of other employees that precedes theirs. External customers are people who purchase or use the organiza-tion’s products.

Obsession with Quality Obsession with quality is an attitude that must be instilled and continually nurtured by leaders in an organization. It means that every employee aggressively pursues quality in an attempt to exceed the expectations of customers, internal and external.

Recognizing the Structure of Work Leadership for quality requires that work processes be analyzed to deter-mine their appropriate structural makeup (organization, order of steps, tools used, motion required, etc.). When the optimum structure is in place, work processes should be analyzed, evaluated, and studied continually in an attempt to improve them.

Freedom through Control Control in a total quality set-ting refers to human control of work methods and processes. All too often in the age of high technology, the “tail wags the dog” in that machines run people instead of people running machines. Leaders must ensure that managers and employees take control of work processes and methods by collaborating to standardize them. The goal is to reduce variations in output by eliminating variations in how work is done.

Unity of Purpose One of the most important responsi-bilities of a leader is to articulate the organization’s mission clearly and accurately so that all employees understand it, believe in it, and commit to it. When there is unity of pur-pose, all employees pull together toward the same end.

Looking for Faults in Systems Quality pioneers W. Edwards Deming and Joseph M. Juran believed that 85%

. Leaders are charismatic. This myth was dispelled in the previous section. Some leaders have charisma and some don’t. Some of history’s most renowned leaders have had little or no charisma. Correspondingly, some of history’s greatest misleaders have been highly charis-matic. Generals Dwight Eisenhower and Omar Bradley are examples of great but uncharismatic leaders. Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini are examples of great mis-leaders who relied almost exclusively on charisma to build a following.

. Leadership exists only at the top. Total quality would not work if this myth were true. Total quality relies on building teams at all levels in an organization and teach-ing employees in these teams to be leaders. In reality, the opposite of this myth is often true. Top managers may be the least capable leaders in a company. Leadership is about producing results and generating continual improvement, not one’s relative position within the organization.

. Leaders control, direct, prod, and manipulate. If practice is an indicator, this myth is the most widely believed. The “I’m the boss, so do what I say” syndrome is rampant in business and industry. It seems to be the automatic fallback position or default approach for managers who don’t know better. Leadership in a total quality setting is about involving and empowering, not prodding and manipulating.

. Leaders don’t need to be learners. Lifelong learning is a must for leaders. One cannot be a good leader without being a good learner. Leaders don’t learn simply for the sake of learning (although to do so is a worthwhile under-taking). Rather, leaders continually learn in ways that help their organizations. A manager who is responsible for the metal fabrication department in a manufacturing firm might undertake to learn more about the classics of European literature. Although this would certainly make her a better educated person, studying European litera-ture is not learning in an organizational context for the manager of a metal fabrication department. Examples of learning in an organizational context for such a manager include learning techniques to improve speed and feed rates, statistical process control (SPC), team-building strategies, computer numerical control programming, information about new composite materials, total pro-ductive maintenance, and anything else that will help improve the department’s performance.

LEADERSHIP FOR QUALITY Leadership for quality is leadership from the perspective of total quality. It is about applying the principles of leadership set forth in the preceding section in such a way as to con-tinually improve the performance of people, processes, and products. Leadership for quality is based on the philosophy that continually improving people, processes, and products will, in turn, improve the following:


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specific processes or methods in need of improvement; set up teams responsible for specific improvement projects; and provide improvement teams with the resources and training needed to diagnose problems and identify causes, decide on a remedy, and standard-ize the improvements once they have been made.

Planning, control, and improvement of quality do not happen automatically in any organization. They happen as the result of leadership. Leaders in a total quality setting must ensure that these principles are applied daily at all lev-els of their organizations.

LEADERSHIP SKILLS: INHERITED OR LEARNED? Perhaps the oldest debate about leadership revolves around this question: “Are leaders born or made?” Can leadership skills be learned, or must they be inherited? This debate has never been settled and probably never will be. There are pro-ponents on both sides of the debate, and this polarity is not likely to change because, as is often the case in such contro-versies, both sides are partially right.

The point of view presented in this book is that lead-ers are like athletes: Some athletes are born with natural ability, whereas others develop their ability through deter-mination and hard work. Inborn ability, or the lack of it, represents only the starting point. Success from that point forward depends on the individual’s willingness and deter-mination to develop and improve. Some athletes born with tremendous natural ability never live up to their potential. Other athletes with limited natural ability do, through hard work, determination, and continual improvement, perform beyond their apparent potential.

This phenomenon also applies to leadership. Some managers have more natural leadership ability than others. However, regardless of their individual starting points, man-agers can become good leaders through education, training, practice, determination, and effort.

LEADERSHIP, MOTIVATION, AND INSPIRATION One of the characteristics shared by effective leaders is the ability to inspire and motivate others to make a commit-ment. The key to motivating people lies in the ability to relate their personal needs to the organization’s goals. The key to inspiring people lies in the ability to relate what they believe to the organizational goals. Implicit in both cases is the leader’s need to know and understand workers, includ-ing both their individual needs and their personal beliefs.

Understanding Individual Needs Perhaps the best model for explaining individual human needs is that developed by psychologist Abraham H. Maslow. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs ( Figure 9–2 ) arrays the basic

of an organization’s failures are failures of management-controlled systems. In their opinion, employees who do the work can control only 15% of what causes failures. Leadership for quality requires a change in focus from assess-ing blame for problems to assessing systems in an attempt to ferret out and correct systemic problems.

Teamwork Rugged individualism has long been a funda-mental element of the American character. The strong, silent stranger who rides into town and single-handedly runs out the bad guys (the character typified by Clint Eastwood over the years) has always had popular appeal in the United States. Individual performance has been encouraged and rewarded in the American workplace since the Industrial Revolution. Not until competition among companies became global in nature did it become necessary to apply a principle that has been known for years—that a team of people working together toward a common goal can outperform a group of individuals working toward their own ends. Leadership for quality requires team building and teamwork. These critical topics are covered in Chapter 10 .

Continuing Education and Training In the age of high technology, the most important machine in the work-place is the human mind. Continued learning at all levels is a fundamental element of total quality. Working hard no longer guarantees success. In the age of high technology, it is necessary to work hard and work smart.

Emphasis on Best Practices and Peak Performance One of the goals of leaders is to ensure the absolute best possible performance from their personnel, processes, and products. Consequently, organizational leaders emphasize identifying and deploying best practices as one more way to ensure consistent peak performance.

The Juran Trilogy Joseph M. Juran sets forth his trilogy on leadership for quality as follows: planning, control, and continual improvement. 5 The Juran Trilogy is composed of the following elements: 6

. Quality planning. Quality planning consists of the fol-lowing steps: identify customers, identify the needs of customers, develop products based on customer needs, develop work methods and processes that can produce products that meet or exceed customer expectations, and convert the results of planning into action.

. Quality control. Quality control consists of the follow-ing steps: evaluate actual performance, compare actual performance with performance goals, and take imme-diate steps to resolve differences between planned per-formance and actual performance.

. Quality improvement. Continual improvement of quality is a fundamental element of total quality. The steps involved are these: establish an infrastructure for accomplishing continual quality improvement; identify


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3. After a need has been satisfied, it no longer works as a motivating factor. For example, people who have satis-fied their need for financial security will not be moti-vated by a pay raise.

Understanding Individual Beliefs Each person has a basic set of beliefs that, together, form that individual’s value system. If leaders know their fellow employees well-enough to understand those basic beliefs, they can use this knowledge to inspire them on the job. Developing this level of understanding of employees comes from observing, listening, asking, and taking the time to establish trust.

Leaders who develop this level of understanding of workers can use it to inspire employees to higher levels of performance. This is done by showing employees how the organization’s goals relate to their beliefs. For example, if pride of workmanship is part of an employee’s value system, a leader can inspire the person to help achieve the organiza-tion’s quality goals by appealing to that value.

Inspiration, as a level of leadership, is on a higher plane than motivation. Managers who become good enough lead-ers to inspire their workers will achieve the best results.

LEADERSHIP STYLES Leadership styles have to do with how people interact with those they seek to lead. Leadership styles go by many dif-ferent names. However, most styles fall into the categories shown in Figure 9–3 .

Autocratic Leadership Autocratic leadership is also called directive or dictatorial lead-ership . People who take this approach make decisions without

human needs on five successive levels. The lowest level in the hierarchy encompasses basic survival needs. All people need air to breathe, food to eat, water to drink, clothing to wear, and shelter in which to live. The second level encom-passes safety/security needs. All people need to feel safe from harm and secure in their world. To this end, people enact laws, pay taxes to employ police and military personnel, buy insurance, try to save and invest money, and install security systems in their homes.

The third level encompasses social needs. People are social animals by nature. This fact manifests itself through families, friendships, social organizations, civic groups, special clubs, and even employment-based groups such as company softball and basketball teams. The fourth level of the hierarchy encompasses esteem needs. Self-esteem is a key ingredient in the personal happiness of individuals. All people need to feel self-worth, dignity, and respect. People need to feel that they matter. This fact manifests itself in a variety of ways. It can be seen in the clothes people wear, the cars people drive, and the behavior people exhibit in public.

The highest level of Maslow’s hierarchy encompasses self-actualization needs. Complete self-fulfillment is a need that is rarely satisfied in people. The need for self-actualization mani-fests itself in a variety of ways. Some people seek to achieve it through their work; others through hobbies, human associa-tions, or leisure activities.

Leaders need to understand how to apply Maslow’s model if they hope to use it to motivate and inspire workers. Principles required for applying this model are as follows:

1. Needs must be satisfied in order from the bottom up.

2. People focus most intently on their lowest unmet need. For example, employees who have not met their basic security needs will not be motivated by factors relating to their social needs.

FIGURE 9–2 Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

FIGURE 9–3 Leadership Styles


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. Relationship of the manager and team members

. How precisely actions taken must comply with specific guidelines

. Amount of authority the leader actually has with team members

Depending on what is learned when these factors are considered, the manager decides whether to take the auto-cratic, democratic, participative, or goal-oriented approach. Under different circ*mstances, the same manager would apply a different leadership style. Advocates of total qual-ity reject situational leadership as an attempt to apply an approach based on short-term concerns instead of focusing on the solution of long-term problems.

LEADERSHIP STYLE IN A TOTAL QUALITY SETTING The appropriate leadership style in a total quality setting might be called participative leadership taken to a higher level. Whereas participative leadership in the traditional sense involves soliciting employee input, in a total quality setting it involves soliciting input from empowered employees, listen-ing to that input, and acting on it. The key difference between traditional participative leadership and participative leader-ship from a total quality perspective is that, with the latter, employees providing input are empowered.

Collecting employee input is not new. However, collect-ing input, logging it, tracking it, acting on it in an appro-priate manner, working with employees to improve weak suggestions rather than simply rejecting them, and reward-ing employees for improvements that result from their input—all of which are normal in a total quality setting—extend beyond the traditional approach to participative leadership.

Discussion Assignment 9-2 illustrates the concept of participative leadership as applied in a total quality setting at a U.S.-based electronics company. This assignment illus-trates how important freedom and respect for the individual are in today’s intensely competitive world of business and industry.

BUILDING AND MAINTAINING A FOLLOWING Managers can be good leaders only if the people they hope to lead will follow them willingly and steadfastly. Followership must be built and, having been built, maintained. This sec-tion is devoted to a discussion of how managers can build and maintain followership among the people they hope to lead.

Popularity and the Leader Leadership and popularity are not the same thing. However, many managers confuse popularity with leadership and, in turn, followership. An important point to understand in leading people is the difference between popularity and

consulting the employees who will have to implement them or who will be affected by them. They tell others what to do and expect them to comply obediently. Critics of this approach say that although it can work in the short run or in isolated instances, in the long run it is not effective. Autocratic leader-ship is not appropriate in a total quality setting.

Democratic Leadership Democratic leadership is also called consultive or consen-sus leadership . People who take this approach involve the employees who will have to implement decisions in mak-ing them. The leader actually makes the final decision but only after receiving the input and recommendations of team members. Critics of this approach say that the most popular decision is not always the best decision and that democratic leadership, by its nature, can result in the making of popu-lar decisions, as opposed to right decisions. This style can also lead to compromises that ultimately fail to produce the desired result.

Participative Leadership Participative leadership is also known as open , free-rein , or nondirective leadership . People who take this approach exert little control over the decision-making process. Rather, they provide information about the problem and allow team members to develop strategies and solutions. The leader’s job is to move the team toward consensus. The underlying assumption of this style is that workers will more readily accept responsibility for solutions, goals, and strategies that they are empowered to help develop. Critics of this approach say consensus building is time consuming and works only if all people involved are committed to the best interests of the organization.

Goal-Oriented Leadership Goal-oriented leadership is also called results-based or objective-based leadership . People who take this approach ask team members to focus solely on the goals at hand. Only strategies that make a definite and measurable contribution to accom-plishing organizational goals are discussed. The influence of personalities and other factors unrelated to the specific goals of the organization is minimized. Critics of this approach say it can break down when team members focus so intently on specific goals that they overlook opportunities or potential problems that fall outside of their narrow focus. Advocates of total quality say that results-oriented leadership is too nar-rowly focused and often centered on the wrong concerns.

Situational Leadership Situational leadership is also called fluid or contingency lead-ership . People who take this approach select the style that seems to be appropriate based on the circ*mstances that exist at a given time. In identifying these circ*mstances, leaders consider the following factors:


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. Sense of purpose. Successful leaders have a strong sense of purpose. They know who they are, where they fit in the overall organization, and the contributions their areas of responsibility make to the organization’s success.

. Self-discipline. Successful leaders develop discipline and use it to set an example. Through self-discipline, leaders avoid negative self-indulgence, inappropriate displays of emotion such as anger, and counterproductive responses to the everyday pressures of the job. Through self-disci-pline, leaders set an example of handling problems and pressures with equilibrium and a positive attitude.

. Honesty. Successful leaders are trusted by their follow-ers. This is because they are open, honest, and forthright with other members of the organization and with them-selves. They can be depended on to make difficult deci-sions in unpleasant situations with steadfastness and consistency.

. Credibility. Successful leaders have credibility. Credibility is established by being knowledgeable, con-sistent, fair, and impartial in all human interaction; by setting a positive example; and by adhering to the same standards of performance and behavior expected of others.

respect. Long-term followership grows out of respect, not popularity. Good leaders may be popular, but they must be respected. Not all good leaders are popular, but they are all respected.

Managers occasionally have to make unpopular deci-sions. This is a fact of life for leaders, and it is why leadership positions are sometimes described as lonely ones. Making an unpopular decision does not necessarily cause a leader to lose followership, provided the leader is seen as having solicited a broad base of input and given serious, objective, and impartial consideration to that input. Correspondingly, leaders who make inappropriate decisions that are popular in the short run may actually lose followership in the long run. If the long-term consequences of a decision turn out to be detrimental to the team, team members will hold the leader responsible, particularly if the decision was made without first collecting and considering employee input.

Leadership Characteristics That Build and Maintain Followership Leaders build and maintain followership by earning the respect of those they lead. Here are some characteristics of leaders that build respect, as shown in Figure 9–4 :

FIGURE 9–4 Characteristics That Build and Maintain Followership


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my-way solution, win/win proponents seek best-way solutions.

. Win/lose is an approach to human interaction that says, “Go ahead and have things your way. I never get what I want anyway.” This approach results in a definite win-ner and a definite loser.

. Lose/lose is an approach to human interaction in which both parties are so stubborn, ego driven, and vindictive that, ultimately, they both lose regardless of what deci-sion is made.

. Win is an approach to human interaction that says, “I don’t necessarily want you to lose, but I definitely want to win.” It is the result of a “You take care of yourself and I’ll take care of myself” attitude.

. Common sense. Successful leaders have common sense. They know what is important in a given situation and what is not. They know that applying tact is impor-tant when dealing with people. They know when to be flexible and when to be firm.

. Stamina. Successful leaders must have stamina. Frequently, they need to be the first to arrive and the last to leave. Their hours are likely to be longer and the pressures they face more intense than those of others. Energy, endurance, and good health are important to those who lead.

. Commitment. Successful leaders are committed to the goals of the organization, the people they work with, and their own ongoing personal and professional devel-opment. They are willing to do everything within the limits of the law, professional ethics, and company pol-icy to help their team succeed.

. Steadfastness. Successful leaders are steadfast and res-olute. People do not follow a person they perceive to be wishy-washy and noncommittal. Nor do they follow a person whose resolve they question. Successful lead-ers must have the steadfastness to stay the course even when it becomes difficult.

Pitfalls That Can Undermine Followership The previous section explained several positive charac-teristics that will help managers build and maintain the respect and, in turn, the followership of those they hope to lead. Managers should also be aware of several com-mon pitfalls that can undermine that followership and the respect they must work so hard to earn. The pitfalls are listed as follows:

. Trying to be a buddy. Positive relations and good rap-port are important, but leaders are not the buddies of those they lead. The nature of the relationship does not allow it.

. Having an intimate relationship with an employee. This practice is both unwise and unethical. A positive manager–employee relationship cannot exist under such circ*mstances. Few people can succeed at being the lover and the boss, and few things can damage the morale of a team so quickly and completely.

. Trying to keep things the same when supervising for-mer peers. The supervisor–employee relationship, no matter how positive, is different from the peer–peer relationship. This can be a difficult fact to accept and a difficult adjustment to make. But it is an adjustment that must be made if the peer-turned-supervisor is going to succeed as a leader.

Paradigms of Human Interaction The paradigms of human interaction include the following: 7

. Win/win is an approach to human interaction that seeks mutual benefit. Rather than pursuing a your-way or


Total Quality at Honeywell Federal Manufacturing & Technologies

Honeywell Federal Manufacturing & Technologies is a management and operations contractor for the National Nuclear Security Administration. The Honeywell Federal contract employs 2,704 personnel at four locations: Kansas City, Kirtland Air Force Base, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and Fort Chafee. The company specializes in diverse low-volume, high-reliability manufacturing. Honeywell Federal received the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award for applying the principles of total quality in its manufacturing operations.

The following factors were cited as being pivotal in Honeywell Federal’s selection as a recipient of the Baldrige Award:

. Achievement of a 95% or better customer-satisfaction rate for four years in a row.

. Identifying, measuring, implementing, and sustaining the factors that are critical to quality.

. Maintaining a 99.9% product reliability rating for traditional customers and 98.4% for nontraditional customers.

. Maintaining an open-door policy that encourages effec-tive communication between management personnel and employees. All personnel have direct access to the company’s senior executives.

. Effective application of the Six Sigma Plus Continuous Improvement Model. Use of this model resulted in more than $25 million in cost savings from increased productivity and deployed innovations over a three-year period.

. Good corporate citizenship demonstrated through a variety of employee-giving programs.

Honeywell Federal applies the principles of total qual-ity in such a way as to achieve peak performance from its people and processes, high-reliability from its products, and superior value for its customers. By doing so, the company has achieved organizational excellence. Source: www.nist.gov .


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Leadership and Change 133

are treated not just well but also as well as all other employees. Fair and equitable treatment of all employ-ees will help build trust.

LEADERSHIP AND ETHICS It is when making decisions that have high ethical content that the true character of a leader shows through—good or bad. Leaders have no more important responsibility than to set a positive example of maintaining high ethical stand-ards. On issues large and small, leaders must be seen by those they hope to lead as not just living up to the ethical stand-ards expected by the organization and society in general but also exceeding them and doing so consistently. There are two reasons for this: (1) people will not follow willingly and fully those they do not trust and (2) leaders set the tone when in comes to ethical behavior in organizations, and people are more likely to follow a leader’s example than his or her words.

Ethical leaders have to take the long view. There will be times when unethical decisions or behavior might appear to serve the organization’s short-term interests or even the self-interest of the leader. However, the truth has a way of out-ing itself in the long run, and expedients that once looked so attractive in the short term can come back to haunt a leader over time. An unethical leader is no leader. He or she is a misleader.

EMPLOYEES AND MANAGERS ON CHANGE One of the difficulties organizations face when attempting to facilitate change is the differing perceptions of employ-ees and managers concerning change. Employees often view change as something done to them. Managers often regard it as something done in spite of employees who just won’t cooperate.

Managers who listen to employees can learn a valuable lesson. It’s not that they dislike change so much. Rather, it’s that they don’t like how it’s done. The key to winning the support of employees for change is involvement . Make them part of the process from the beginning. Give them a voice in how change is implemented. Make sure that change is some-thing done with employees rather than to them.

From the perspective of employees, managers are often viewed as the “bad guys” when changes are made. This

Of the four paradigms just presented, the win/win approach is the one that will most help leaders build and maintain a following. Unlike the other paradigms, win/win places value on the opinions of both parties and requires them to work together to find solutions.

LEADERSHIP VERSUS MANAGEMENT Although both leadership and management are needed in the modern workplace, they are not the same thing. To be a good leader and a good manager, one must know the dif-ference between the two concepts. According to John P. Kotter, leadership and management “are two distinctive and complementary systems of action.” 8 Kotter lists several dif-ferences between management and leadership which are as follows: 9

. Management is about coping with complexity; leader-ship is about coping with change.

. Management is about planning and budgeting for com-plexity; leadership is about setting the direction for change through the creation of a vision.

. Management develops the capacity to carry out plans through organizing and staffing; leadership aligns peo-ple to work toward the vision.

. Management ensures the accomplishment of plans through controlling and problem solving; leadership motivates and inspires people to want to accomplish the plan.

Trust Building and Leadership Trust is a necessary ingredient for success in the intensely competitive modern workplace. Building trust requires leadership on the part of managers. Trust-building strategies include the following:

. Taking the blame but sharing the credit. Managers who point the finger of blame at their employees, even when the employees are at fault, do not build trust. Leaders must be willing to accept responsibil-ity for the performance of people they hope to lead. Correspondingly, when credit is due, leaders must be prepared to spread it around appropriately. Such unselfishness on the part of managers builds trust among employees.

. Pitching in and helping. Managers can show leader-ship and build trust by rolling up their sleeves and help-ing when a deadline is approaching. A willingness to “get their hands dirty” when circ*mstances warrant it helps managers build trust among employees.

. Being consistent. People trust consistency. It lets them know what to expect. Even when employees disagree with managers, they appreciate consistent behavior.

. Being equitable. Managers cannot play favorites and hope to build trust. Employees want to know that they


Organizational Change Should Be Inclusive

It is often said that people in organizations do not like change. While it is true that people tend to become comfortable with the status quo, what they fear is not so much change but the unknown. People cling to the familiar because they fear the uncertainty of change. This is why the three most important rules of change leadership are communicate, communicate, and communicate.


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Develop a Change Picture One of the best ways to minimize the disruptive nature of change is to develop a clear picture of what the organiza-tion is going to look like after the change. A good question to ask is “What are we trying to become?” Managers should develop a change picture and be able to articulate it. This will give the organization a beacon in the distance to guide it through the emotional fog that can accompany change.

Use Incentives to Promote the Change People respond to incentives, especially when those incen-tives are important to them on a personal level. Managers can promote the change that accompanies restructuring by establishing incentives for contributors to that change. Incentives can be monetary or nonmonetary, but they should motivate employees on a personal level.

An effective way to identify incentives that will work is to form an ad hoc task force of employees and discuss the issue of incentives. List as many monetary and nonmonetary incentives as the group can identify. Then give the mem-bers a week to discuss the list with their fellow employees. Once a broad base of employee input has been collected, the task force meets again and ranks the incentives in order of preference. The team then establishes a menu of incentives management can use to promote change. The menu concept allows employees to select incentives from among a list of options. This increases the likelihood that the incentives will motivate on a personal level.

Train, Train, Train During times of intense change, the tendency of organiza-tions is to put training on hold. The idea is “we’ll get back to training again when things settle down.” In reality, putting off training during restructuring is the last thing an organi-zation should do.

One of the primary reasons employees oppose change is that it will require skills they don’t have. Training should actually be increased during times of intense change to make sure that employees have the skills required during and after the transition period.

HOW TO LEAD CHANGE Leading people in organizations through change initiatives require a concerted and systematic effort. The following change-implementation model is designed to help lead-ers systematically overcome the various factors that inhibit organizational change ( Figure 9–5 ):

. Develop a compelling change picture

. Communicate the change picture to all stakeholders

. Conduct a comprehensive roadblock analysis

. Remove or mitigate all roadblocks identified

. Implement the change

. Monitor and adjust

viewpoint is just as unfair and counterproductive as the one that sees employees as inhibitors of change.

To respond effectively to change, organizations must continually apply at least the following strategies:

. Promote a “we are in this together” attitude toward change.

. Make sure all employees understand that change is driven by market forces, not management.

. Involve everyone who will be affected by change in planning and implementing the response to it.

RESTRUCTURING AND CHANGE Few words can strike as much fear into the hearts of employ-ees at all levels as restructuring . The term at one time was synonymous with reorganization . However, as a result of the way so many organizations have used the word, it has become a euphemism for layoffs, terminations, plant clos-ings, and workforce cuts.

Because of the ever-changing conditions of the global marketplace, few organizations will escape the necessity for restructuring, and few people will complete a career with-out experiencing one or more restructurings. Acquisitions, mergers, buyouts, and downsizing—common occurrences in today’s marketplace—all typically involve corporate restructuring. This fact is market driven and can be con-trolled by neither individuals nor organizations. However, organizations and individuals can control how they respond to the changes brought by restructuring, and it is this response that will determine the effectiveness of the restruc-turing effort. The remainder of this section is devoted to explaining strategies for effectively handling the changes inherent in restructuring.

Understand the Employees’ Point of View Restructuring can be traumatic for employees. Managers should remember this point when planning and imple-menting the changes that go with restructuring. The follow-ing strategies can help maintain employee loyalty and calm employee fears during restructuring:

. Take time to show employees that management cares and is concerned about them on a personal level.

. Communicate with employees about why the changes are necessary. Focus on market factors. Use a variety of tools to ensure effective communication (e.g., face-to-face meetings, newsletters, videotaped messages, and posted notices).

. Provide formal outplacement assistance to all employ-ees who will lose their jobs.

. Be fair, equitable, and honest with employees. Select employees to be laid off according to a definite set of criteria rather than as the result of a witch hunt.

. Remember to provide support to those individuals who will be the primary change agents.


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when, who, and why plus how. The change picture should be put in writing to ensure that all organizational leaders convey the same message. Mixed messages during a time of significant change can quickly undermine the success of the change initiative. The change picture explains what the change is going to be, where it is being made, when it is being made, who will be affected by it, why it is being made, and how stakeholders will be affected by it.

The change picture is made compelling by writing it from the perspective of the stakeholders it will be communi-cated to. This means that there may need to be more than one version of the change picture. Of course, the what, where, when, who, and why aspects must remain the same to avoid mixed messages. However, the how component should be tailored to the stakeholders in question. For example, with any major change a company’s first-line employees will be affected differently than its investors and shareholders. The change picture shared with any constituent group should convey specifically how they will be affected by the change.

What follows is an example of a change picture that was developed by one of the authors for a family owned com-pany that planned to go public and have its shares traded on the stock market (the company’s name has been changed to protect privacy):

For more than 60 years, ABC Inc. has been a family owned business. The company was founded by the cur-rent CEO’s great grandfather. Many of our personnel have spent their entire careers at ABC. On January 1,ABC will become a publicly traded company with a board of directors. This change applies to all three of ABC’s plants. The current management team will stay in place and continue to lead ABC as it has in the past. All personnel will be affected by this change in some way. However, we expect the effects to be posi-tive. This change is being made to raise the invest-ment capital needed to upgrade facilities, equipment, and personnel so that ABC can compete in the global arena. For first-line employees, the effects will include: (1) long-needed equipment upgrades, (2) the poten-tial for promotions as ABC is able to expand using the capital raised by going public, and (3) better benefits. Expansion into new markets and stepping up to com-pete globally will mean that all personnel will need to focus on peak performance like never before. In order to operate new equipment and processes, first-line employees will need to undergo upgrading training that is likely to be ongoing and continual. In short, all per-sonnel will be expected to do their part to ensure that ABC can develop into a world-class competitor.

This change picture explains the what (going public), where (at all of ABC’s plants), when (January 1), who (all personnel), and why (upgrade to compete globally). The “how” component pertains specifically to first-line employ-ees and answers their most important question: How will this change affect me? On the one hand, ABC’s first-line personnel will enjoy new equipment, better benefits, and

Develop a Compelling Change Picture One of the main reasons why people in organizations resist change is fear of the unknown. Once people become com-fortable with the familiar, they tend to resist anything that threatens that comfort. Consequently, change, which repre-sents the unknown and unfamiliar, is often viewed by people as a threat. To counteract fear of the unknown, organiza-tional leaders can develop a compelling change picture.

A change picture is a brief but compelling written expla-nation of the five Ws and one H of change: what, where,

• Step 1Develop the

Change Picture

Communicatethe Change


Conduct theRoadblockAnalysis

Remove orMitigate



Monitor andAdjust

• Step 2

• Step 3

• Step 4

• Step 5

• Step 6

FIGURE 9–5 Change Facilitation Model Source: This model is adapted from John P. Kotter, Leading Change (Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 1996), 21.


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the success of a major change initiative. Employees who are denied a chance to do these things might, at best, misunder-stand the change initiative and at worst resent it. Employees who resent the change initiative are not likely to do anything to help it succeed. In fact, they are more likely to do just the opposite. This step in the model is designed to create allies for the change initiative, not enemies.

To ensure that this step in the model goes smoothly, higher management should conduct training sessions for department-level managers, supervisors, and team leaders, the organizational leaders who will conduct the face-to-face meetings with stakeholders. These sessions are used to anticipate the types of questions that might be asked and to formulate accurate responses. This will help ensure that all organizational leaders give the same responses to the same questions, a necessity to keep the rumor mill from resurfacing. The training for those who will leads of face-to-face meetings should also include a lesson on listening as employees vent without reacting. Leaders who become defensive when employees express anger or frustration will just make matters worse. Leaders who respond to venting with anger will just increase the resentment. During a time of significant organizational change, employees are like tea-pots: unless given a chance to vent they might explode.

Providing a written change picture and then follow-ing up with face-to-face meetings will sort out the person-nel who are going to support the change initiative and those who are likely to fight it. This sorting out allows organiza-tional leaders to enlist the help of supporters and take steps to either eliminate or, at least, mitigate the resistance of objectors. Supporters can now be brought together for the next step in the model: the roadblock analysis.

Conduct a Comprehensive Roadblock Analysis The roadblock analysis is an essential step in the model, yet it is a step that very few organizations apply. The purpose of the roadblock analysis is to identify all potential road-blocks that might impede implementation of the change initiative. This step is accomplished by conducting face-to-face meetings with employees who are going to have to carry out the practical, day-to-day work of the implementation. It is important that the personnel involved in this step be supportive of the change initiative. Experience shows that objectors will use the roadblock to create roadblocks rather than eliminate them. The philosophy underlying the road-block analysis is that the employees who are closest to the day-to-day work of the implementation are more likely than anyone else to see problems, glitches, or circ*mstances that could sidetrack the implementation.

One of the authors was once involved in leading a major change initiative at a large manufacturing and engineering firm: changing from a five-day to a four-day work week. This change meant that all employees would work from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. with an hour off for lunch rather than 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The change was

more potential for advancement. On the other hand, ABC is moving up to a higher level of competition where the per-formance expectations of first-line personnel will be corre-spondingly higher.

After receiving this change picture, most first-line per-sonnel at this company welcomed both the opportunities and the challenges brought by the change. However, there were a few who did not. These few welcomed the opportu-nities, of course, but not the challenges. Predictably, these few unmotivated employees did not survive the transition from family business to publicly traded global competitor. However, they did have an opportunity to survive and suc-ceed, something the overwhelming majority of first-line per-sonnel did.

There is an important lesson in this example for other organizations planning major change initiatives. By devel-oping a change picture that was comprehensive, forthright, and compelling, ABC lost a few employees. But those who left were marginal employees who did not want to give the level of effort necessary to step up to a higher level of com-petition. On the other hand, ABC retained its best employ-ees. Organizations that fail to develop a comprehensive and compelling change picture run the risk of just the opposite result: losing their best employees who, frightened by rumors and misinformation, leave. It’s important for organizational leaders to understand that while the well-explained certain-ties of change initiatives might frighten marginal employ-ees into leaving, the ambiguities of unexplained change initiatives are more likely to cause the organization’s better employees to leave.

Consequently, organizational leaders are well-advised to remember this unalterable fact of life about major change initiatives: Whether the news surrounding a major change is good or bad it should be conveyed completely and accu-rately to stakeholders and from their individual perspectives. No matter how bad or unwelcome certain news might be as the result of a change initiative, the rumor mill will make it appear worse. Even with bad news, a well-written change initiative allows organizational leaders to establish and con-trol the context in which the change will be viewed by their personnel.

Communicate the Change Picture to Stakeholders Once the change picture has been developed, it must be communicated to all stakeholders. The authors recom-mend a two-step approach: (1) give the change picture to stakeholders in writing and (2) explain the change picture verbally at the team or department level. Giving the change picture to stakeholders in writing will ensure that everyone gets the same message, thereby neutralizing the rumor mill. Explaining the change picture in face-to-face meetings will allow stakeholders to ask questions, seek clarification, state their concerns, and vent their feelings.

Giving personnel opportunities to ask questions, seek clarification, state concerns, and vent feelings is critical to


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but also that he would not recommend the purchase unless the original cost savings still applied. The training, coupled with several organization-wide venting sessions, mitigated the roadblocks that not only would have impeded the transi-tion process but might even have ensured failure.

Implement the Change Once all roadblocks have been identified and either elimi-nated or mitigated, it is time to implement the change initia-tive. This is the step in which Murphy’s Law comes into play more than in any other step. Murphy’s Law suggests that anything that can go wrong will go wrong. This is a bit of an overstatement in most cases. However, the implementation—even after roadblocks have been removed—is not likely to go forward without problems. Consequently, it is important to have an implementation plan that turns the implementa-tion into a systematic process.

The implementation plan contains a comprehensive list of all tasks that have to be completed, a schedule with deadlines for each task, and a responsible party assigned to each task. Nothing that has to be done in order for the implementation to succeed should be left to chance, and nothing should be assumed. There are no unimportant tasks when implementing a change initiative. Every task down to the most minor should be identified, put on a schedule, and assigned to an individual. Developing the implementation plan is similar to conducting the road-block analysis in that it involves an ad hoc group of stake-holders who are familiar enough with the situation to know what must be done and to ensure nothing that must be done is overlooked.

Monitor and Adjust Once the implementation plan has been developed, it becomes an invaluable tool for the organizational leaders who must monitor the progress of the implementation and make any necessary adjustments to keep it moving. Because every task in the overall process has been identified and assigned to a responsible individual, organizational leaders have a definite point of contact for monitoring. Because every task in the process has been put on a schedule, organ-izational leaders are able to tie their monitoring efforts to a schedule. By checking with responsible individuals well-ahead of deadlines, organizational leaders can determine when adjustments must be made. An adjustment might be a change to the schedule for a given task or solving a problem that has cropped up unexpectedly and is imped-ing progress.

In any case, even after developing a comprehensive and detailed implementation plan, organizational leaders should never assume that the process will simply take care of itself. Rather, they should monitor closely and quickly take any action necessary to remove impediments so that the momentum is not lost. The implementation is neither over nor is it successful until the change initiative represents the normal way of doing things.

initiated by the CEO of the company after he had read an article extolling the virtues of the four-day work week. Organizational leaders received more opposition than anticipated during the face-to-face meetings used to com-municate the change picture. However, it was during the roadblock analysis that what was bothering the company’s personnel was pinpointed.

Many of the company’s personnel were either single parents or from families in which both the husband and wife worked. As a consequence of their family situations, these personnel operated on tight schedules when it came to getting their children to school or day care before getting themselves to work. The new schedule of four ten-hour days would just create havoc in their lives. Another group of per-sonnel relied on getting off of work at 5:00 p.m. in order to attend night classes at the nearby university, classes they needed to complete degrees the company encouraged them to enroll in. Others had part-time jobs that began right after they got off of work. These were serious roadblocks, and many of the people with objections were key personnel. As a result of the roadblock analysis, higher management took stock and made the rational decision to drop the idea of the four-day work week.

Remove or Mitigate All Roadblocks Identified In the previous section, the example of the company that attempted to adopt a four-day work week showed that, at times, the roadblock analysis will reveal that the proposed change initiative is a bad idea. However, more often it sim-ply identifies roadblocks that must be removed or mitigated before they can impede implementation of the change ini-tiative. For example, one of the authors once worked with an organization that decided to transition from what, at the time, was the leading office software package to a new pack-age that was just emerging.

The organization planned to move forward with the transition quickly so as to take advantage of some breaks that were available for only a brief period of time. Sales per-sonnel for the new software package had assured the organi-zation’s information technology director that employees who could operate the old software package could operate the new with no problem. However, during the roadblock analysis sessions, a theme quickly emerged in the feedback provided by employees: Training would be essential. The old program was menu-driven while the new program used the point-and-click system. A number of other operational issues were identified. Before long it became clear to higher management that unless training was provided the organiza-tion was going to have problems.

The organization’s information technology director soon realized that his initial thoughts concerning transition-ing the organization to the new software had been overly optimistic. To his credit, the director confronted the sales personnel he had been working with, explained that not only would training have to be part of the purchase price,


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thanks to the steadfast determination of Abraham Lincoln to preserve the vision of America’s founders.

Lincoln’s vision for the United States grew out of the Declaration of Independence. To this self-educated coun-try lawyer, the words of Thomas Jefferson represented what modern business leaders call the corporate vision. The Constitution represented the strategic plan for achieving the vision. Lincoln articulated this vision over and over to any-one who would listen and to many who wouldn’t. So deter-mined was Lincoln to preserve what the founding fathers had established that he was not above temporarily rescind-ing the very rights he was so committed to protecting (e.g., the writ of habeas corpus ).

Lincoln exemplified many leadership strategies that have direct applications in today’s global business environ-ment. According to Donald T. Phillips, these were some of Lincoln’s strongest beliefs about leading: 10

. Get out of the office and circulate among the troops. Lincoln spent as much time as he could in the field with his commanders and troops. Apparently, Lincoln knew about management by walking around more than 100 years before Tom Peters made the concept part of the quality lexicon.

. Persuade rather than coerce. Lincoln used amusing stories and country-bumpkin humor to persuade peo-ple to his way of thinking. Building consensus rather than just dictating is fundamental to leadership in a quality management setting.

. Honesty and integrity are the best policies. Lincoln developed a reputation for telling the truth even when it hurt. Even people who disliked Lincoln, and these were many, usually trusted him. Trust is the cornerstone of quality leadership. People will follow only those they trust.

. Have the courage to handle unjust criticism. Lincoln was the most criticized president in our nation’s his-tory. Abolitionists criticized him for moving too slowly in freeing the slaves, while proslavery advocates criticized him for moving too fast. By its very nature, leadership involves promoting and facilitating change. Consequently, leaders are subject to the unjust criticism of those who oppose change.

. Have a vision and continually reaffirm it. Lincoln’s vision for the country could be found in the words of the Declaration of Independence, and he took every opportunity to share his vision. Leaders must show those they would lead what is important, what they believe in, and where they want the organization to go. This is accomplished by articulating a clear, concise vision that is worthy of their commitment.

These are just a few of the leadership strategies exempli-fied by Abraham Lincoln in a life cut short by an assassin’s bullet. There are many more, but it is the last strategy— have a vision and continually reaffirm it —that more than any of the others sets Lincoln apart as being worthy of emulation by today’s business leaders.

LESSONS FROM DISTINGUISHED LEADERS Some of the most distinguished leaders in America’s his-tory can be found in fields outside of business and industry. In many cases, their leadership philosophies and methods, though applied in other fields, have direct applications in the world of business. Three distinguished leaders from outside the field of business are profiled in this section. Those chosen for inclusion had to meet the following criteria: (1) recog-nized widely as a distinguished leader in a specific field, (2) deceased long enough for history to have formed an accurate perspective, and (3) advocated a leadership philosophy that has direct application in today’s fast-paced, highly competi-tive business environment. The leaders chosen for inclusion here are Abraham Lincoln, Harry Truman, and Winston Churchill. Each of these individuals had a leadership style that distinguished him from his contemporaries and set him apart from competitors. No attempt is made to explain every aspect of each leader’s philosophy; rather, key aspects have been gleaned from the many for their distinctive application to the contemporary world of global business.

Abraham Lincoln on Leadership Abraham Lincoln has been called the man who “saved the Union,” and deservedly so. He led the United States through four of the most bitter and difficult years in its history, those years when the North and South were embroiled in the American Civil War. In a horrific conflict that pitted brother against brother and friend against friend, Abraham Lincoln prevailed against the forces of secession by clinging stead-fastly to his vision of one nation, undivided.

Lincoln was the 16th president of the United States. He gained a national reputation for opposing slavery, which led to his nomination for the presidency by the new Republican Party. He was elected in 1860 shortly before the onset of the Civil War. He led the northern states through the long and deadly years of a war most people expected to last only weeks. In 1863, seeking an issue to rally the North and save the Union, Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation freeing the slaves in the areas under Confederate control. He was reelected in 1864. During its 1864 to 1865 session, Congress passed the Thirteenth Amendment abolishing slavery.

With slavery ended and the war over, Lincoln looked forward to healing the country’s wounds and bringing the North and South back together “with charity for all and mal-ice toward none.” He never got the chance. In April 1865, shortly after the war ended, Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth while attending a play at Ford’s Theater in Washington, DC. With him died the hopes of a charitable reconciliation with the South. Instead, a period of “recon-struction” ensued that was punitive at best and, in many cases, brutal. In some ways, the country is still scarred by the Civil War and the reconstruction period that followed. But the nation survived, prevailed, and remains undivided,


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worthy of the terrible price being paid and that preserving the concepts of freedom and liberty for which the founding fathers had fought and died was the issue at stake. Business leaders struggling to keep their organizations focused on the difficult challenge of competing globally can profit from studying the lessons of Abraham Lincoln.

Harry Truman on Leadership In his early years, Harry Truman was not a name that came to mind when the topic of conversation was leader-ship. Physically unimposing, he was small and nonathletic and wore thick glasses that magnified his eyes. As a boy, Harry Truman might have been called a “nerd,” had the word existed at the time. He was inept at farming, had no profession, and showed little promise when World War I intervened. It was while serving in the army as a captain of artillery that Harry Truman first displayed evidence of the leadership ability for which he is now famous. Truman was put in charge of an artillery company made up of some tough characters who had already run off two previous com-manders. But Harry Truman, they would soon find, was a different kind of leader. He quickly applied that leadership adage “When you are put in charge, take charge.” Before long, Captain Truman had won both the respect and the admiration of his men, some of whom remained lifelong friends.

Truman was America’s 33rd president, serving from 1945 to 1953. He succeeded to the office on the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt just as World War II was entering its final and most crucial phase. Later, he was the president who had to deal with the Korean War at a time when the last thing Americans wanted was another conflict. Although Harry Truman exemplified many important leadership strategies, he is best remembered for the following:

1. Making the hard decisions and sticking by them

2. Taking responsibility

3. Believing in yourself when no one else does

Making the Hard Decisions As vice president, Harry Truman was not part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s inner circle. In fact, he knew very little of what was going on as Roosevelt made the momentous decisions of a wartime president. Roosevelt died while resting at his “Little White House” in Warm Springs, Georgia, and Harry Truman was sworn in as president on April 12, 1945. Just hours after being sworn in, Truman was informed by Secretary of War Henry Stimson that the United States had successfully devel-oped the most destructive bomb in the history of the world and that Truman would have to decide whether to drop it on Japan. After weighing the facts presented to him by his top military advisors, Truman decided to use the atomic bomb to bring the war to a speedy conclusion rather than risk-ing the additional 1 million American casualties projected, should the United States have to invade the Japanese home-land. In making this decision, Harry Truman knew that

It’s well-known and documented that during the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln, through his speeches, writings, and conversations, “preached a vision” of America that has never been equaled in the course of American history. Lincoln provided exactly what the country needed at that precise moment in time: a clear, concise statement of the direction of the nation and justification for the Union’s drastic action in forcing civil war. 11

Many examples could be cited, but just two will ade-quately show how Lincoln continually articulated a clear and concise vision around which the North could rally. Speaking about the Civil War in a speech delivered to a special session of Congress on July 4, 1861, Lincoln said:

This is essentially a people’s contest. On the side of the Union, it is a struggle for maintaining in the world that form and substance of government whose lead-ing object is to elevate the condition of men—to lift artificial weights from all shoulders—to clear the paths of laudable pursuit for all—to afford all an unfettered start, and a fair chance, in the race of life. 12

Perhaps the best example of Lincoln articulating the national vision came during his address in November 1863, during ceremonies dedicating the national cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Standing on the site of a great and terrible battle that left more than 50,000 dead and wounded in its bloody aftermath, Lincoln said:

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war; testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great bat-tlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fit-ting and proper that we do this. But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate—we cannot consecrate—we cannot hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remain-ing before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth. 13

Lincoln’s message was simple, yet inspiring, as any good vision must be. It told the people of the North, a people worn down and weary of war, that what they were fighting for was


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MacArthur became heated and public. Eventually, the feud reached the point where Truman thought MacArthur had crossed the line and become insubordinate. Consequently, Truman did the unthinkable: He fired one of the most pop-ular, most highly decorated military heroes in America’s his-tory. The response of Americans was immediate and volatile. MacArthur returned home to a hero’s welcome, complete with ticker-tape parades and the opportunity to address a joint session of Congress. Truman, on the other hand, found himself isolated and vilified. He quickly became one of the most unpopular presidents ever to hold office. He would later decide to forego running for reelection.

Firing MacArthur made Harry Truman a pariah for sev-eral years, but with the passing of time, people began to reas-sess the situation. Before he died, Harry Truman’s firing of Douglas MacArthur had come to be viewed as not just the right thing to do but also one of the most politically coura-geous acts ever undertaken by an American president. It came to be seen for what it really was: the civilian commander in chief asserting his authority under the United States Constitution when a military leader presumed to challenge that authority. It could be said that Harry Truman sacrificed his political career to protect the integrity of the Constitution.

Taking Responsibility A leader must be willing to share the credit and take the blame. Having the cour-age to take responsibility for one’s decisions and behavior is an absolute necessity for a leader in any field. As presi-dent, Harry Truman became famous for his willingness to do what he thought was right and take responsibility for the consequences, a characteristic all too often missing in today’s political leaders. He had a sign on his desk that read, “The buck stops here.” In other words, everyone else might be able to take the politically expedient way out and “pass the buck” (meaning pass responsibility or blame to someone else), but as president, Truman would not.

He willingly accepted responsibility for the decision to drop the atomic bomb on Japan, and he took responsibility for firing General Douglas MacArthur, paying for the latter with his political career. This is an example that every busi-ness leader facing difficult decisions should seek to emulate.

Believing in Yourself Every leader at one time or another will be faced with a “no confidence” situation. The leader has made a decision or outlined a course of action only to be met with opposition, dissension, and negativity. But leaders who have considered the dissent, weighed the facts, and still think they are right must have the strength of their own convictions to go forward, even if they are alone in believing in themselves.

Having to believe in himself when no one else would was a lifelong burden for Harry Truman. As a child, Truman was not one to garner the confidence of others. Nobody looked at Harry Truman and thought, “Here is a boy who might grow up to be president of the United States.” Truman’s bookish appearance and plain-spoken personality belied the fact that he was bright, well-read, had a will of iron, and possessed

he was sentencing thousands of Japanese people—military and civilian; men, women, and children—to a fiery death. Balancing this terrible knowledge against the almost certain 1 million American deaths, Truman made the tough deci-sion to use the bomb. One could argue that no leader in his-tory has had to make so monumental a choice and with so little time to consider it.

Another difficult decision Truman had to make involved the hugely popular military leader General Douglas MacArthur. By the time Truman became president, MacArthur was a living legend. One of the most charismatic and highly decorated military leaders in America’s history, MacArthur had served with distinction in World War I and again in World War II, where he commanded all military forces in the southwest Pacific theater of war. MacArthur was awarded the Medal of Honor for leading the courageous but doomed garrison of American troops that held out against the Japanese army and navy at Bataan and Corregidor in the Philippines long enough to allow the United States to recover from the devastation of Pearl Harbor. When President Roosevelt ordered MacArthur to turn over his command to General Jonathan Wainwright and vacate the Philippines, MacArthur escaped by undertaking a perilous journey through Japanese-held waters to Australia. On arrival, he gave the famous speech in which he said, “I shall return,” and return he did, freeing the Philippines from years of Japanese rule. In doing so, MacArthur garnered for himself a place not just in history but also in the hearts of the American people.

After the war, MacArthur served as military governor of Japan, helping rebuild the devastated country and draft its new constitution. He was serving in this capacity when the Communist North Korean Army crossed the 38th Parallel, caught South Korean forces off guard, and nearly overran the entire Korean peninsula. In a short time, the United States was at war again and General MacArthur was in charge. He added to an already brilliant military career by rallying the demoralized American and South Korean armies and pulling off an incredibly daring and risky inva-sion behind enemy lines at the port of Inchon, Korea. Soon he had the Communist North Korean Army on the run. In fact, his forces pushed them back across the 38th Parallel and kept pushing them almost to the border of China. This is where his problems with President Truman began.

MacArthur wanted permission to pursue the North Korean Army into China, which was giving the Koreans not just support but also sanctuary. Truman wanted to limit the war to Korea and prevent the tragedy of an all-out war with China. While MacArthur and Truman disagreed over the conduct of the war—sometimes publicly, much to the chagrin of Truman—the Chinese decided the mat-ter of a broader war themselves by coming to the aid of the Communist North Korean Army. Soon the most advanced forces under MacArthur found themselves surrounded by 38 divisions of the army of the People’s Republic of China. MacArthur advocated a strong response, including a nuclear attack against China, if necessary. Many Americans agreed with him. Truman refused, and his disagreements with


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and simply bypassing the vaunted Maginot Line erected after World War I to prevent just such an invasion. British troops sent to help stop the Nazi blitzkrieg (lightning warfare) were quickly thrown back, along with their French counterparts. By May 26, 1940, more than 200,000 British and 100,000 French troops had been pushed all the way to the coast of France. They stood on the beaches of Dunkirk, their backs to the English Channel, surrounded by superior German forces. Only the incredible resourcefulness of the British people in organizing a cross-channel evacuation involving nearly every craft on the British coast that could float, coupled with bad weather that stymied the German Luftwaffe, saved the British army and the remnants of the French forces.

In June 1940, Italy declared war on Great Britain, and before the month was out, France had surrendered and agreed to German occupation. Every day brought more and more bad news for Churchill and his beleaguered compatriots. Then, when it seemed to the people of Great Britain that things could not possibly get any worse, they did. On July 10, 1940, Germany began a bombing assault on Great Britain that would continue into the summer of 1941. In addition, Germany declared a complete blockade of this tiny island nation. By the end of 1940, Britain stood practically alone in the world against the Nazi onslaught, cut off from help by German U-boats (submarines) that patrolled the Atlantic Ocean, sinking any ship that might carry much-needed supplies for the British.

Churchill’s challenge was to hold his nation together—a nation surrounded by hostile forces, bombed mercilessly every night, and starved of badly needed provisions—until he could convince the United States to come to Britain’s assistance. It was a challenge that Churchill accepted with courage, optimism, and unshakable resolve. In the words of Churchill associate and friend Maurice Hankey:

We owed a good deal in those early days to the courage and inspiration of Winston Churchill who, undaunted by difficulties and losses, set an infectious exam-ple . . . . His stout attitude did something to hearten his colleagues. 14

According to Steven Hayward,

The key to Churchill’s courage was his unbounded opti-mism. Only an optimist can be courageous, because courage depends on hopefulness that dangers and haz-ards can be overcome by bold and risky acts. 15

Churchill combined an optimistic spirit and a bulldog tenacity into a “can do” attitude that was contagious. He con-vinced his beleaguered compatriots that if they would hang on and do their duty, the forces of good would overcome the forces of evil in due course. Churchill’s favorite phrase was “All will come right.” He repeated this phrase over and over again in speeches given during the darkest hours of World War II. Churchill never ended a speech on anything but an optimistic note, even during the worst of times. But his messages to the British people and to the world were not pie-in-the-sky cheer-leading. He never flinched in telling the British people just how bad things were; after all, they knew. The bombs were

great depth of character. Because of this, even when no one else believed in Harry Truman, Harry Truman did. Never was this more apparent then when Truman ran for reelec-tion to the presidency in 1948 against the Republican candi-date, Thomas Dewey.

Dewey was everything that Truman wasn’t: handsome, well-educated, and urbane. Political professionals and media figures gave Truman little or no chance of winning the elec-tion. Even Truman’s own supporters did not think he could beat Dewey, but Truman did. Harry Truman believed he was the right man for the job, that his ideas for moving the country forward were the best ideas, and that the American people would support him if they heard the truth rather than the biased reporting of the media. In order to get around the media and directly to the American people, Truman under-took a nationwide “whistle-stop” campaign in which his train stopped at every little city, town, or community along the line and Truman spoke to the people from the back of the caboose (a car specially renovated for his use). The political profes-sionals and the media gave Truman no chance. So sure were they of a Truman defeat that one newspaper printed its front-page headline proclaiming Dewey the victor even before the votes had been counted. When the votes were tallied, Truman shocked everyone but himself by winning convincingly. To this day, the most famous photograph of Harry Truman is one showing him holding up that newspaper and pointing to the erroneous headline. When the chips were down, Harry Truman believed in himself. This is an example that leaders in today’s global world of business would do well to copy.

Winston Churchill on Leadership Business leaders in need of a role model who exempli-fied perseverance in the face of adversity can learn much by studying the life of Sir Winston Churchill, especially his years as Great Britain’s prime minister during World War II. Winston Churchill had already amassed a long record of public service to the British Crown when Adolph Hitler first came to power. Seeing the future more accurately than many of his fellow citizens, Churchill began urging the British gov-ernment to rearm and prepare to defend itself against the rise of Nazism. Unfortunately, few paid Churchill any mind. Consequently, Great Britain was caught unprepared when, in September 1939, Hitler’s troops quickly overran Poland, a British ally. Two days later, honoring its alliance with Poland, Britain declared war on Nazi Germany, and Churchill was elevated to the position of prime minister, a position he held from 1940 until the end of World War II in 1945. France joined Great Britain in declaring war on Germany.

In the early months of the war, nothing went right for Churchill’s tiny island nation. Rather than joining Britain and France in an alliance against Hitler’s Germany, the Soviet Union shocked the world by entering into a pact with the Nazis. In short order, Germany won a series of victories in Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg. Then, on May 17, 1940, the German army and Luftwaffe (air force) swept into France, quickly brushing aside that nation’s army


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to organization and management that seeks to go beyond employee empowerment to employee autonomy, while still meeting all the demands of a competitive marketplace.

Proponents of servant leadership and stewardship claim that this level of commitment cannot be achieved in a tra-ditionally led organization. In an organization in which the philosophy of servant leadership and stewardship is fully accepted and practised, employees are given the autonomy to think and act for the greater good of the larger group (serv-ice and stewardship) rather than just themselves, a team, or some other individual unit. In order to do this, employees must feel that they are in control of their safety and security.

NEGATIVE INFLUENCES ON LEADERS: HOW TO COUNTER THEM Leaders must be careful and think critically about the advice they receive from others. There are many reasons why fol-lowers sometimes give bad advice. The most negative of these occurs when followers have hidden agendas they are trying to advance and advising the leader to make a certain decision—although it might be bad for the organization—will be good for them personally.

Leaders fall prey to the negative influence of followers when they make such mistakes as letting the majority rule, being fooled by flattery, and relying too heavily on “knowl-edgeable” advisors. Offermann recommends the following strategies that leaders in any type of organization can use to counter the negative influences of followers:

1. Keep the organization’s vision and values uppermost in your mind. How does the follower’s recommendation square with where you are trying to take the organization? How does it square with the core values or guiding princi-ples of the organization? How does it square with your per-sonal core values? It’s much easier to take the wrong road when you don’t recognize the right road.

2. Look for disagreement among your advisors. People are too complex and opinionated to completely agree on most issues. If there is no disagreement, look for some.

3. Encourage, promote, and reinforce truth telling. Make sure you have advisors who will look you in the eye and tell you the truth, no matter what the issue is. You can encour-age truth telling by making sure you don’t shoot the messen-ger when what you hear runs counter to what you would like to hear. You can also encourage truth telling by reinforcing it in various ways. For example, publicly thank those who bring you facts that differ with the crowd during meetings.

4. Set the right example. The first rule of good leadership is to lead by example. Followers need to see you setting a good example when decisions are made. One of the best principles to follow is to let followers see you living out what you profess to believe. Never tell them to do what you say, not what you do.

5. Follow your intuition. If something feels wrong, it probably is. If you think you are being manipulated, you

falling on them every night. Their sons, husbands, and broth-ers were coming home from the war wounded or in coffins. The comforts of peacetime no longer existed. Churchill’s mes-sage was not that “everything is fine.” Rather, he told the peo-ple that things were bad and would probably get even worse, but in due course, the tide would turn. Britain would eventu-ally prevail because it stood, even if at the time it stood alone, for what is right and good and decent in the world. His was a powerful message, and it worked.

Because of Churchill’s steadfast courage, optimism, and perseverance in the face of adversity, Great Britain was able to hold on until the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor (December 7, 1941) brought the United States into the war as an ally. With any less a leader than Sir Winston Churchill at the helm during those dark early years of the war, Great Britain might not have resisted. Had Britain fallen, one can only speculate as to how the world of today might look. Leaders of organi-zations going through difficult times, organizations that are barely holding on while trying to survive, can benefit from studying the life of Sir Winston Churchill.

SERVANT LEADERSHIP AND STEWARDSHIP Leadership in business is about ensuring that organizations operate at peak performance levels on a consistent basis. It is about getting the best out of the organization in terms of efficiency and effectiveness. A concept that has this same goal at its core, but challenges the traditional approaches to leadership, is servant leadership and stewardship. Like the traditional approaches to leadership, servant leadership and stewardship must pass the tests of competitiveness in the global marketplace. Like any concept that seeks to ensure the optimum performance of an organization, servant lead-ership and stewardship seek to do a better job of serving both external and internal customers than do traditional approaches. In other words, the concept differs from con-ventional leadership ideas not so much in its overall goal as in its approach to achieving that goal.

Servant Leadership and Stewardship Defined Advocates of servant leadership believe those who serve best lead best. According to Professor Sean Aland, servant leaders set an example of putting their employees, custom-ers, organization, and community ahead of their own per-sonal needs. 16 Being a servant leader is being a good steward in terms of the organization and its various stakeholders. Employees who see managers being good stewards are more likely to buy into the concept themselves. Advocates of this philosophy believe that employees at all levels should be committed to being good stewards; that is, they should, of their own volition and without coercion, do what is neces-sary to improve the organization because they feel an intense and personal responsibility for its performance. The serv-ant leadership and stewardship philosophy is an approach


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. Set a positive example

. Establish definite learning goals

. Communicate effectively and often

. Think critically and innovate

. Empower protégés

. Inspire, support, and encourage

Set a Positive Example The mentor–protégé relation-ship is unique in the workplace. Everything a mentor does and says should be with the intention of helping the protégé learn, develop, and improve. The foundation of the relation-ship is the mentor’s example. Mentors must be willing to consistently set a positive example of everything they expect of protégés. They must exemplify the best of what the organ-ization expects of its personnel. Telling a protégé to “Do as I say not as I do” is the worst thing a mentor can do. Any person who is not willing and able to set a consistently posi-tive example should not be allowed to serve as a mentor. Nor should an individual who will tell protégés to ignore what they were told during orientation and then show them the “real way we do things around here” be allowed to serve as a mentor. Leaders who serve as mentors must be committed to the organization’s stated cultural values and developing protégés within the context of those corporate values.

Establish Definite Learning Goals Mentoring is a developmental process. Mentors attempt to help protégés develop their knowledge, skills, and attitudes in ways that will help them and help the organization. Consequently, the desired outcome of the mentor-protégé experience should never be left to chance. At the outset of the relationship, mentors and protégés should establish a specific set of learn-ing goals. If the mentoring relationship is to help protégés get better, these goals should answer the question: Better at what?

The protégé might have some specific areas in which he or she wishes to improve. Correspondingly, the mentor might have observed areas in which the protégé needs improve-ment. Consequently, establishing learning goals is a two-way give-and-take exercise. The protégé might say, “I need help getting better at X, Y, and Z.” The mentor might respond, “I can help you develop in those areas. In addition, let’s work on developing your skills in A, B, and C.” For example, the protégé might want to learn how to lead teams. That would be an appropriate learning goal. The mentor might want the protégé to learn how to conduct employee input meetings using such techniques as brainstorming and nominal group technique. This would also be an appropriate learning goal. Regardless of what learning needs to take place, the learning goals should be written down and agreed to by both parties.

Communicate Effectively and Often Effective com-munication between the mentor and protégé is critical. Protégés need to know how they are doing, if they are pro-gressing satisfactorily, what they are doing well, and what they need to improve on. Correspondingly, mentors need to know what problems, difficulties, and challenges the protégés

probably are. Your intuition was developed over the course of many years, and you had to suffer through the consequences of many mistakes to gain intuition. Now that you have it, use it.

6. Delegate, don’t abdicate. Watch a college or profes-sional football game. When the best quarterbacks hand off the ball, they don’t just sit back and say, “I gave you the ball—it’s your problem now.” Rather, they take some action—whether it be giving a fake or making a block—to help the runner succeed. Leaders should follow the example of the best quar-terbacks. When you delegate, stay in touch—monitor. This does not mean you should micromanage. Rather, it means you should establish progress points and monitor to ensure that they are met. Leaders who delegate a task and then wash their hands of it are not delegating; they are abdicating.

LEADERS AS MENTORS One of the most important responsibilities of organiza-tional leaders is mentoring the next generation of leaders. Mentoring is an extension of stewardship. Leaders who are good stewards do everything they can to take care of the resources entrusted to them. The most important resource a leader has is the human resource—the people in his or her organization. The better the people in an organization per-form, the better the organization performs. Consequently, helping people continually improve their performance is an important aspect of leadership. One of the best ways to help people improve is to mentor them.

Mentoring can provide a number of benefits for the indi-viduals involved as well as for the organization as a whole. The potential benefits of mentoring include the following: 17

. Facilitates relationship building which, in turn, improves teamwork.

. Gives personnel a stronger connection to the organization.

. Promotes communication.

. Helps personnel see the big picture and where they fit into it.

. Enhances performance.

. Improves the organization’s retention rate.

. Develops the next generation of leaders.

. Enhances job knowledge and skills.

This list contains some of the more important potential benefits of mentoring. In order to translate potential into reality, organizational leaders need to know how to mentor. Mentoring is a leadership skill, and not all leaders have it. Fortunately, effective mentoring is a skill that can be learned.

Best Practices in Mentoring In order for organizational leaders to become good men-tors, they need to learn to apply best practices. Leaders who learn to apply the best practices explained in this section will become effective mentors. These best practices in mentoring are as follows:


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appropriate to communicate the parameters within which they are to operate, mentors should never create a situation in which protégés have to ask permission before attempting something new. Protégés making mistakes and what they learn from these mistakes are a part of the growth process. By establishing parameters, mentors can ensure that the mis-takes are not major, costly, or harmful. However, a part of the mentoring process is helping protégés learn how to take the initiative, think for themselves, innovate, and confront new challenges. To satisfy this aspect of the relationship, it is nec-essary to empower protégés, give them the room needed to learn and grow, and support them when they make mistakes so that the mistakes can be turned into learning experiences.

Inspire, Support, and Encourage Inspiring, sup-porting, and encouraging protégés may be the most impor-tant responsibility of mentors. Being a protégé, by its very nature, can create uncertainty and even fear. After all, in order to be a protégé, people must admit they need help—that they need to improve. Consequently, inspiring, sup-porting, and encouraging are critical responsibilities of the mentor. Protégés are going to make mistakes, they are going to fall short on performance targets, and they are going to make the wrong choices. If they feel supported and encouraged, these things can all be turned into learning experiences. If they do not feel supported and encouraged, they will not be willing to risk making a mistake, and the only people who never make mistakes are those who never do anything.

Leaders are people who inspire others to get better, do better, and be better. This is why the mentor’s example is so important. To inspire protégés to get better, do better, and be better, mentors must be seen as always trying to perform in the same manner. Professional development is a journey not a destination. Even the best in the business need to strive to continually improve, and their protégés need to see them doing this. The best way to inspire a protégé is to exemplify what they are trying to become, what they would like to be. Mentors who do this while simultaneously supporting and encouraging protégés will serve their protégés and their organizations well.

are facing. Communication between mentors and protégés should be confidential, but frank, tactful, and helpful. This is why building trust is so critical in developing a success-ful, productive mentor–protégé relationship. Without trust, communication will be limited and ineffective.

Constructive criticism—which is one of the core responsibilities of the mentor—will not be constructive unless it is delivered in a positive, nonthreatening, helpful way. If the protégé perceives the mentor’s feedback as just criticism rather than constructive criticism, the value of the mentoring relationship will be lost. This is why it is impor-tant for mentors to be open with their protégés—to share some of their own fears, concerns, and challenges. Unless mentors are open with protégés, the protégés will not be open with them.

Think Critically and Innovate Learning to think criti-cally and innovate when facing problems should always be one of the learning goals in the mentor–protégé relation-ship. If protégés are going to advance in their careers and help achieve organizational excellence, they must become critical thinkers who know how to take the initiative and innovate when facing problems and making decisions. Even if they are already good at critical thinking and innovating, they should get even better as a result of the mentor–protégé relationship.

To help protégés develop their critical thinking and innovation skills, mentors should act as advisors and sound-ing boards rather than fixers when protégés confront prob-lems they do not know how to solve. Mentors who step in and solve the problems for their protégés rob them of the oppor-tunity to learn and grow, which is the purpose of the rela-tionship in the first place. Mentors should not let protégés make serious or costly errors. However, on the other hand they should avoid jumping in and solving their problems for them. Guiding, advising, and gently steering protégés toward their own conclusions and solutions will allow them to develop their critical thinking and innovation skills.

Empower Protégés Some mentors think they need to keep their protégés on a short reign. While it is certainly


1. Leadership is the ability to inspire people to make a total, willing, and voluntary commitment to accom-plishing or exceeding organizational goals. Good lead-ers overcome resistance to change, broker the needs of constituent groups inside and outside the organization, and establish an ethical framework. Good leaders are committed to both the job to be done and the people who must do it. They are good communicators, and they are persuasive.

2. Leadership for quality is based on the following princi-ples: customer focus, obsession with quality, recogniz-ing of the structure of work, freedom through control,

unity of purpose, looking for faults in systems, team-work, continuing education and training, emphasis on best practices and peak performance.

3. Common leadership styles include the following: auto-cratic, democratic, participative, goal-oriented, and situational. The appropriate leadership style in a total quality setting is participative taken to a higher level. Leadership characteristics that build and maintain fol-lowership are a sense of purpose, self-discipline, hon-esty, credibility, common sense, stamina, commitment, and steadfastness.

4. Leaders can build trust by applying the following strate-gies: taking the blame but sharing the credit, pitching in and helping, being consistent, and being equitable.


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Leadership and Change 145

4. Describe and debunk three common myths about leadership.

5. List and briefly explain the principles of leadership.

6. What is the Juran Trilogy?

7. Describe Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and how it can be used in a total quality setting.

8. What leadership style is most appropriate in a total quality setting? Why?

9. Explain the leadership characteristics that build and maintain followership.

10. Explain the pitfalls that can undermine followership.

11. List the strategies leaders can use to play a positive role in facilitating change.

12. Explain what organizations must do to respond effec-tively to change.

13. What can organizations do to promote a positive response to restructuring?

14. Explain each step in change facilitation.

15. Explain the main leadership lessons that can be learned by studying the lives of Abraham Lincoln, Harry Truman, and Winston Churchill.

16. How do the concepts of servant leadership and steward-ship differ from traditional leadership philosophies?

17. Explain the strategies for countering the negative influ-ences of advisor and followers.


How Do You Change a Complacent Organization? Mark Bolten, CEO of Trans-Tech Corporation, is frustrated. Trans-Tech is the market leader in the manufacture of avi-onics components for commercial airliners and has been for years. But looking to the future, Mark sees problems. Not now, but within 5 years Trans-Tech’s situation could change drastically for the worse. Mark sees this and wants to get his company started right away making major but necessary changes.

The challenge he faces is organizational inertia based on complacency. Not even one member of his manage-ment team sees the need to change. The collective attitude of Trans-Tech’s senior managers seems to be, “We are the market leaders—why rock the boat?”

What is especially frustrating for Mark is the fact that his senior managers are solid, talented professionals. Together with him, they built Trans-Tech into a leading company. He can’t simply replace them with more future-minded manag-ers. They need to be part of the solution.

Put yourself in Mark’s place. What can he do to break through the inertia and get Trans-Tech started on mak-ing the necessary changes? How would you handle this dilemma?

5. When restructuring, organizations should show that they care, let employees vent, communicate, provide outplacement services, be honest and fair, provide for change agents, have a clear vision, offer incentives, and train.

6. To lead change, leaders must develop a change picture, communicate, plan, assign, monitor, and adjust.

7. Servant leadership and stewardship go beyond employee empowerment to employee autonomy and seek to cre-ate an environment in which employees perform out of a spirit of ownership and commitment.

8. Leaders can counter the negative influence of follow-ers by (a) keeping vision and values uppermost in their minds, (b) looking for disagreement among advisors, (c) encouraging truth telling, (d) setting the right exam-ple, (e) following their intuition, and (f) monitoring delegated work.


Autocratic leadership

Common sense


Customer focus

Democratic leadership

Juran Trilogy


Leadership for quality


Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs


Obsession with quality

Participative leadership



Sense of purpose

Servant leadership

Situational leadership







1. Define the term leadership .

2. Explain the concept of a good leader.

3. How can one distinguish between leaders and misleaders?


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Leadership for Quality at Lincoln Electric Lincoln Electric Company in Cleveland, Ohio, manufac-tures arc welding equipment. Lincoln has the highest paid workers in this extremely competitive market, and it is pro-tected neither by patents nor by price supports. In spite of this, Lincoln Electric controls 40% of the arc welding mar-ket. How is this possible? Lincoln Electric outperforms its competitors in both quality and productivity. By way of comparison, Lincoln Electric has sales in excess of $167,000 per employee, while the industry average is $70,000 per employee.

This is accomplished by applying, in the age of high technology, the following leadership principles set forth by James F. Lincoln in 1895:

. Viewing people as the company’s most valuable asset

. Practicing Christian ethics

. Making decisions based on principles

. Observing simplicity in all things

. Competing

. Focusing on the customer

DISCUSSION QUESTION Discuss the following question in class or outside of class with your fellow students: 1. Compare these principles with the leadership princi-

ples explained in this chapter. How are they similar or different?


Leadership for Quality at Kollmorgen Corporation Kollmorgen Corporation is a diversified technology com-pany that operates in the highly competitive electron-ics industry. Kollmorgen relies on its employees pulling together to outperform the competition worldwide in the areas of quality and productivity. The focus of leaders at Kollmorgen is on individuals and helping them want to achieve peak performance levels.

Kollmorgen achieves this by applying the following strategies:

. Managers make sure that employees can focus on their work rather than paperwork.

. The distance between people, both physical and psycho-logical, is reduced to promote effective communication.

. Positive personal relationships are stressed.

DISCUSSION QUESTION Discuss the following question in class or outside of class with your fellow students: 1. Compare these strategies with the leadership princi-

ples explained in this chapter. How are they similar or different?


1. William A. Cohen, A Class with Drucker: The Last Lessons of the World’s Greatest Management Teacher (New York: AMACOM, 2007), 105–108.

2. Ibid., 106.

3. Ibid., 109.

4. Noel M. Tichy and Warren G. Bennis, Judgment: How Winning Leaders Make Great Calls (New York: Portfolio Hardcover, 2007), 142.

5. The Juran Trilogy® is a registered trademark of Juran Industries Inc.

6. Management for the Rest of Us, “Joseph Juran-The Quality Trilogy.” Retrieved from www.mftrou.com/joseph-juran.html on February 2, 2011.

7. Businessballs, “Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People®.” Retrieved from www.businessballs.com/sevenhabitsstevencovey.htm on February 20, 2011.

8. John P. Kotter, “What Leaders Really Do,” Harvard Business Review (December 1, 2001): 3 (Produ # R0111-PDF-ENG).

9. Ibid.

10. Donald T. Phillips, Lincoln on Leadership (New York: Warner Books, 1992), 13–137.

11. Ibid.

12. Ibid.

13. Ibid.

14. Steven F. Hayward, “Churchill’s Personal Traits,” The CEO Advantage Journal . Retrieved from www.tcajournal.com on February 15, 2011.

15. Ibid.

16. Sean Aland, Servant leadership seminar, updated January 2011.

17. Lois J. Zachary and Lory A. Fisher, “Those Who Lead, Mentor,” (March 2010). Retrieved from www.astd.org/TD/TDpodcasts.htm on January 7, 2011


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MAJOR TOPICS . Overview of Team Building and Teamwork . Building Teams and Making Them Work . Four-Step Approach to Team Building . Character Traits and Teamwork . Teams Are Coached—Not Bossed . Handling Conflict in Teams . Structural Inhibitors of Teamwork . Rewarding Team and Individual Performance . Recognizing Teamwork and Team Players . Leading Multicultural Teams




No member of a crew is praised for the rugged individuality of his rowing. —Ralph Waldo Emerson

Taken separately, the individual team members were not particularly impressive when compared with the league’s best at their respective positions. Bigger defensive ends, stronger nose tackles, quicker linebackers, and swifter defensive backs played on competing teams. Where the Dolphins defense excelled was in working together as a team. Its members were a perfect example of the fact that a team’s ability is more than just the sum of the abilities of the individual members.

Rationale for Teams In the example of the No Name Defense, the team’s ability was more than the sum of the abilities of individual members. This is one of the primary reasons for advocating teamwork. The following facts summarize the rationale for teamwork:

. Teams satisfy the human social need to belong.

. Two or more heads are better than one.

. The whole (the team) can be greater than the sum of its parts (individual members).

. People in teams get to know each other, build trust, and, as a result, want to help each other.

. Teamwork promotes better communication.

. Teamwork multiplies the potential of individual members.

. Teamwork produces positive peer pressure.

It is well-established that teams can outperform indi-viduals, provided they are properly handled. A team is not just a group of people. A group of people becomes a team when the following conditions exist:

. Agreement exists as to the team’s mission. For a group to be a team and a team to work effectively, all members must understand and agree on the mission.

. Members adhere to team ground rules. A team must have ground rules that establish the framework within which the team’s mission is pursued. A group becomes a team when there is agreement as to mission and adherence to ground rules.

. Fair distribution of responsibility and authority exists. Teams do not eliminate structure and authority.

OVERVIEW OF TEAM BUILDING AND TEAMWORK Teamwork is a fundamental element of total quality. The reason for this is simple and practical. It is organizations, not individuals, that produce products and provide services. Consequently, peak performance and continual improve-ment are group, not individual, endeavors.

What Is a Team? A team is a group of people with a common, collective goal. The collective goal aspect of teams is critical. This point is evident in the performance of athletic teams. For example, a basketball team in which one player hogs the ball, plays the role of the prima donna, and pursues his or her own per-sonal goals (a personal high point total, most valuable player or MVP status, publicity, or something else) will rarely win against a team whose players all pull together toward the col-lective goal of winning the game.

An example of teamwork succeeding over individual-ism is the No Name Defense of the Miami Dolphins of the National Football League (NFL) during the early years of the franchise. In a sport that promotes and spawns media stars, no member of the Dolphin defense stood out above the oth-ers. In fact, although it was arguably the best defense in the NFL at the time, individual members of the team were not well-known—hence the nickname No Name Defense.


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corresponding competitiveness than having no teams at all. For this reason, it is critical that excellence in team perform-ance be an overriding goal of the organization.

In order to ensure excellence in teamwork, team lead-ers should attempt to develop the following characteristics of effective teams:

. Mutual support. In teams, individual members depend on each other to get the job of the team done. They are mutually dependent . Since this is the case, they must also be mutually supportive: willing and able to assist each other as necessary in achieving peak performance for the team and continually improving performance.

. Challenge. Wise team leaders find that delicate balance between expecting too much and expecting too little. They set goals for the team that are challenging but not overwhelming.

. Singleness of purpose. A team has a purpose that should be clearly stated in its mission. That purpose must become the purpose of each individual team member as well as of the team.

. Trust. Wise team leaders work continually on building trust among their team members and between them-selves and team members. People will not work well with others they do not trust, nor will they commit to a team leader they do not trust.

. Participation. Wise team leaders draw out reticent members who tend to hold back rather than contributing ideas, concerns, and recommendations during team dis-cussions. Correspondingly, team leaders rein in members who tend to dominate team meetings. In the best teams, all members participate, but nobody dominates.

. People skills. The best teams consist of members who have developed the people skills necessary to prevent and resolve conflict and to work cooperatively to solve problems.

. Accountability. The best teams consist of mem-bers who know the teams’ goals and expect to be held accountable for achieving them. Self-assessment of team performance is a constant, as is continual improvement.

. Reinforcement. The best teams reinforce success by celebrating it. Wise team leaders reinforce team-positive behaviors and attitudes by recognizing and rewarding them.

Football teams have quarterbacks, and baseball teams have captains. However, teams work best when respon-sibility and authority are shared and team members are treated as equals.

. People adapt to change. Change is not just inevitable in a total quality setting—it is also desirable. Unfortunately, people typically resist change. People in teams should help each other adapt to change in a positive way.

Learning to Work Together A group of people does not make a team. People in a group do not automatically or magically find ways to work together.

One of the reasons teams don’t always work as well as they might is certain built-in human factors that, unless understood and dealt with, can undermine success. These factors include:

. Personal identity of team members. It is natural for people to wonder where they fit into any organization. This tendency applies regardless of whether the organi-zation is a company or a team within a company. People worry about being an outsider, getting along with other team members, having a voice, and developing mutual trust among team members. The work of the team can-not proceed effectively until team members feel as if they fit in.

. Relationships among team members. Before people in a group can work together, they have to get to know each other and form relationships. When people know each other and care about each other, they will go to great lengths to support one another. Time spent help-ing team members get acquainted and establish com-mon ground among themselves is time invested well. This is especially important now that the modern work-force has become so diverse; common ground among team members can no longer be assumed.

. Identity within the organization. This factor has two aspects. The first has to do with how the team fits into the organization. Is its mission a high priority in the company? Does the team have support at the highest management levels? The second aspect of this factor relates to how membership on a given team will affect relationships with those who are not members. This concern is especially important in the case of task forces and project teams whose members will want to main-tain relationships they have already established with fel-low employees who are not on the team. They may be concerned that membership on the team might have a negative impact on their relationships with fellow work-ers who aren’t included.

Team Excellence and Performance Teamwork is not a magic cure-all. Poorly run teams can do more damage to an organization’s performance and


Teams Give Employees a Sense of Belonging

One of the most important functions of a team is providing its members with a sense of belonging. People have an inherent need to belong, to feel like they are part of something. Belonging to a team gives employees a sense of being rooted , of having a home within the larger organization.


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Team Building and Teamwork 149

Typically, the team leader will appoint a recorder to take minutes during meetings. However, the team leader is still responsible for distributing and filing minutes.

. Serve as a full-fledged team member but exercise care to avoid dominating team discussions.

. Implement team recommendations that fall within the team leader’s realm of authority and work with upper management to implement those that fall outside it.

. Motivate, monitor, and mentor other team members.

Other Team Members In addition to the team leader, most teams will need a team recorder and a quality advisor. The recorder is responsible for taking minutes during team meetings and assisting the team leader with the various other types of correspondence generated by the team. The quality advisor is an important part of the team in a total quality environment and has the following responsibilities:

. Focus on team processes, as opposed to products, and on how decisions are made, as opposed to what deci-sions are made.

. Assist the team leader in breaking down tasks into com-ponent parts and assigning the parts to team members.

. Help the team leader plan and prepare for meetings.

. Help team members learn to use the scientific approach of collecting data, analyzing data statistically, and draw-ing conclusions based on the statistical analysis.

. Help team members convert their recommendations into presentations that can be made to upper management.

. Keep the team focused on peak performance of people, processes, and products and continual improvement of all the three.

Creating the Team’s Charter After a team has been formed, a team leader selected, a reporter appointed, and a quality advisor assigned, the team is ready to develop its charter. This is a critical step in the life of a team. The charter explains the team’s reason for being and its operating ground rules. Hence, the two components of a team charter are the mission and the ground rules. A mission statement is written in terms that are broad enough to encompass all the team will be expected to do but specific enough that progress can be easily measured. This sample mission statement meets both of these criteria:

The purpose of this team is to reduce the time between when an order is taken and when it is filled, while simul-taneously improving the quality of products shipped.

This statement is broad enough to encompass a wide range of activities and to give team members room within which to operate. The statement does not specify by how much throughput time will be reduced or by how much quality will be improved. The level of specificity comes in the

BUILDING TEAMS AND MAKING THEM WORK Some work teams are permanent (i.e., departments, sec-tions, divisions, etc.). However, some are ad hoc—they are formed to complete a specific assignment or mission.

Part of building a successful team is choosing team members wisely. This section describes strategies for select-ing team members, naming officers (or otherwise assigning responsibility), creating a mission statement, and develop-ing collegial relations among team members.

Makeup and Size of Teams Teams should be composed of those people who are most likely to be able to satisfy the team’s mission efficiently and effectively. The appropriate makeup of a team depends in part on the type of team in question (whether it is depart-mental improvement, process improvement, or task force or project-oriented). Departmental improvement teams such as quality circles are made up of the employees of a given department. However, process improvement teams and task forces typically cross departmental lines.

The membership of such teams should be open to any level of employee—management, supervisors, and hourly wage earners. A good rule of thumb is that the greater the mix, the better.

Choosing Team Members When putting together a team, the first step is to identify all potential team members. This is important because there will often be more potential team members than the number of members actually needed (maximum of 12 members). After the list has been compiled, volunteers can be solicited and actual team members selected from among those who vol-unteer. However, care should be taken to ensure a broad mix, as discussed in the previous section. This rule should be adhered to even if there are no volunteers and team mem-bers must be drafted. The more likely case is that there will be more volunteers than openings on most teams.

Responsibilities of Team Leaders Most teams will have members who are managers, super-visors, and hourly employees. However, it should not be assumed that the highest level manager will automatically be the team leader. Correspondingly, it should not necessarily be assumed that the most junior hourly worker cannot be the team leader, at least in the case of ad hoc teams.

The first step in selecting a team leader is to develop an understanding of the role and responsibilities of this indi-vidual. Team leaders perform the following functions:

. Serve as the official contact between the team and the rest of the organization.

. Serve as the official record keeper for the team. Records include minutes, correspondence, agendas, and reports.


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2. Help team members develop mutual confidence in their work ability.

3. Help team members understand the pressures to which other team members are subjected. It is important for team members to be supportive of peers as they deal with the stresses of the job.

4. Help team members learn to be mutually supportive in doing their work.

5. Help team members think “we” rather than “me.”

These are the basics. Competence, trust, communica-tion, and mutual support are the foundation on which effec-tive teamwork is built. Any resources devoted to improving these factors are an investment well-made.

Promoting Diversity in Teams The American workplace has undergone an unprecedented transformation. Formerly dominated by young to middle-aged white males, the workplace now draws from a labor pool dominated by women and minorities. This means that today’s employees come from a variety of different cultures and backgrounds. Consequently, they are likely to have dif-ferent values and different outlooks. This situation can be good or bad, depending on how it is handled. Dealing with diversity in a way that makes it a strength has come to be known as managing diversity .

When diversity is properly managed, impediments to women and minorities that exist in some workplaces can be eliminated. By working together in well-supervised teams that include women and men, young and old, minorities and nonminorities, employees can learn how to realize the full potential of diversity. Diversity in teamwork can be pro-moted by applying the following strategies:

. Continually assess circ*mstances. Is communication among diverse team members positive? Do bias and stereotyping exist among team members? Do minorities and nonminorities with comparable jobs and qualifica-tions earn comparable wages? Factors that might under-mine harmonious teamwork should be anticipated, identified, and handled.

. Give team members opportunities to learn. Humans naturally tend to distrust people who are different, whether the differences are attributed to gender, cul-ture, age, race, or any other factor. Just working with people who are different can help overcome this unfor-tunate but natural human tendency. However, it usually takes more than just working together to break down barriers and turn a diverse group of employees into a mutually supportive, complementary team in which the effectiveness of the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Education and training aimed at promoting sen-sitivity to and appreciation of human differences should be provided. Such training should also help team mem-bers overcome the stereotypical assumptions that soci-ety in general seems to promote.

goals set by the team (e.g., reduce throughput time by 15% within 6 months; improve the customer satisfaction rate to 100% within 6 months). Goals follow the mission statement and explain it more fully in quantifiable terms.

This sample mission statement is written in broad terms, but it is specific enough that team members know they are expected to simultaneously improve both productivity and quality. It also meets one other important criterion: simplic-ity. Any employee could understand this mission statement. It is brief, to the point, and devoid of all esoteric nonessen-tial verbiage.

When developing mission statements, team leaders should keep these criteria in mind: broadness, appropriate specificity, and simplicity. A good mission statement is a tool for communicating the team’s purpose—within the team and throughout the organization—and not a device for con-fusing people or an opportunity to show off literary dexterity.

The second component of a team charter consists of the ground rules members agree to abide by as they work together to achieve the team’s mission. Ground rules are typically based on such team-positive characteristics as hon-esty, trust, dependability, mutual support, responsibility, cooperation, patience, resourcefulness, punctuality, toler-ance of and sensitivity to cultural differences, perseverance, and conflict management. A team’s actual ground rules are developed by listing on a flipchart as many of these types of team-positive characteristics as the group can suggest and then asking each team member to select his or her top 10. The top 10 (or 8 to 12) are then converted into ground rules. For example, the conflict management characteristic—when converted into a ground rule—might read as follows:

We are free to disagree on this team, but not to be disa-greeable. We will endeavor to prevent counterproduc-tive conflict or to quickly and positively resolve it when conflict occurs.

One final component that is sometimes included in a team charter consists of team goals. Ad hoc teams typically include goals and permanent work teams do not. Because ad hoc teams come together on a temporary basis to accomplish a finite set of goals, it is important to include those goals in the team charter. However, because the goals of permanent work teams are always evolving, it is better to make them a separate attachment to the team charter.

Developing Mutually Supportive Peer Relationships A team works most effectively when individual team mem-bers form positive, mutually supportive peer relationships. These are sometimes called collegial relationships , and they can be the difference between a high-performing team and a mediocre one.

1. Help team members understand the importance of hon-esty, reliability, and trustworthiness. Team members must trust each other and know that they can count on each other.


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the team’s performance and abilities relative to the specific criteria in each category. The highest score possible for each criterion is 6; the lowest score possible is, 0. The team score for each criterion is found by adding the scores of individual members for that criterion and dividing by the number of team members. For example, a four-person team might pro-duce the following score on a given criterion:

Team member 1: 4

Team member 2: 2

Team member 3: 2

Team member 4: 4 12: 12 ÷ 4 = 3 (team average score)

The lower the team score is for a criterion, the more work is needed on that criterion.

Team-building activities should be developed and exe-cuted based on what is revealed by this assessment. Activities should be undertaken in reverse order of the assessment scores (e.g., lower scores first, higher scores last). For exam-ple, if the team score for criterion 1 (clearly stated mission) is the lowest score for all the criteria, the first team-building activity would be to rewrite this mission statement so that it is clear and easily understood.

Planning Team-Building Activities Team-building activities should be planned around the results of the needs assessment conducted in the previ-ous step. Consider the example of a newly chartered team. The highest score for a given criterion in Figure 10–1 is 6. Consequently, any team average score less than 6 indicates a need for team building relating to the criterion in question. The lower the score, the greater is the need.

For example, say the team in question had an average score of 3 for criterion 2 (“All team members understand the mission”). Clearly, part of the process of building this team must be explaining the team’s mission more clearly. A team average score of 3 on this issue indicates that some mem-bers understand the mission and some don’t. This solu-tion might be as simple as the responsible manager or team leader sitting down with the team, describing the mission, and responding to questions from team members.

On the other hand, if the assessment produces a low score for criterion 9 (“All team members are open and hon-est with each other at all times”), more extensive trust-building activities may be needed. In any case, what is important in this step is to (a) plan team-building activities based on what is learned from the needs assessment and (b) provide team-building activities in the priority indicated by the needs assessment, beginning with the lowest scores.

Executing Team-Building Activities Team-building activities should be implemented on a just-in-time basis. A mistake made by many organizations that are interested in implementing total quality is rushing into team building. All employees are given teamwork training,

For metal to have optimum strength and resiliency characteristics, it must be alloyed with other metals. High-performance, space-age metals are all mixtures of several different component metals, each different from the others and each possessing its own desirable characteristics. In the modern workplace, this analogy can be applied to the team. Diverse employees, properly managed and trained, can make high-performance, world-class teams.

FOUR-STEP APPROACH TO TEAM BUILDING Effective team building is a four-step process:

1. Assess

2. Plan

3. Execute

4. Evaluate

To be a little more specific, the team building process proceeds along the following lines: (a) assess the team’s developmental needs (e.g., its strengths and weaknesses), (b) plan team-building activities based on the needs identified, (c) execute the planned team-building activities, and (d) evaluate results. The steps are spelled out further in the next sections.

Assessing Team Needs If you were the coach of a baseball team about which you knew very little, what is the first thing you would want to do? Most coaches in such situations would begin by assessing the abilities of their new teams. Can we hit? Can we pitch? Can we field? What are our weaknesses? What are our strengths? With these questions answered, the coach will know how best to proceed with team-building activities.

This same approach can be used in the workplace. A mistake commonly made by organizations is beginning team-building activities without first assessing the team’s developmental needs. Resources are often limited in organi-zations. Consequently, it is important to use them as effi-ciently and effectively as possible. Organizations that begin team-building activities without first assessing strengths and weaknesses run the risk of wasting resources in an attempt to strengthen characteristics that are already strong, while at the same time overlooking characteristics that are weak.

For workplace teams to be successful, they should have at least the following characteristics:

. Clear direction that is understood by all members

. “Team players” on the team

. Fully understood and accepted accountability measures

Figure 10–1 shows a tool that can be used for assess-ing the team-building needs of workplace teams. It consists of criteria arranged in three broad categories: direction and understanding, characteristics of team members , and account-ability . Individual team members record their perceptions of


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approach is to reconstitute the document so that it contains the relevant criteria only. This will focus the attention of team members on the specific targeted areas.

If the evaluation shows that sufficient progress has been made, nothing more is required. If not, additional team-building activities are needed. If a given team-building activ-ity appears to have been ineffective, get the team together and discuss it. Use the feedback from team members to identify weaknesses and problems and to ensure that team-building activities become more effective.

CHARACTER TRAITS AND TEAMWORK Organizations may be “missing the boat” unless character building is part of their team-building program. 1 This con-clusion is based on the findings of Institute for Corporate Competitiveness’ (ICC’s) year-long study in which 10 focus groups were questioned at length concerning which factors contribute most to helping people work well in teams.

even those who are not yet part of a chartered team. Like any kind of training, teamwork training will be forgotten unless it is put to immediate use. Consequently, the best time to provide teamwork training is after a team has been formed and given its charter. In this way, team members will have opportunities to apply what they are learning immediately.

Team building is an ongoing process. The idea is to make a team better and better as time goes by. Consequently, basic teamwork training is provided as soon as a team is chartered. All subsequent team-building activities are based on the results of the needs assessment and plan-ning process.

Evaluating Team-Building Activities If team-building activities have been effective, weaknesses pointed out by the needs assessment process should have been strengthened. A simple way to evaluate the effective-ness of team-building activities is to readminister the appro-priate portion of the needs assessment document. The best

FIGURE 10–1 Team-Building Needs Assessment


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Team Building and Teamwork 153

identified the lack of these same character traits as the most important determinant of team failure.

Study subjects were vocal and clear on the contribu-tions that the character traits shown in Figure 10–2 make to successful teamwork and, conversely, on the harmful impact

Five of the focus groups consisted of participants who were members of successful teams. The other five groups consisted of participants who had been members of unsuccessful teams. Participants in each group were asked to discuss the factors that contributed most to their team’s success or its failure, as applicable. ICC facilitators recorded the consensus responses of each group and sum-marized them in order of importance (as prioritized by the groups).

There was a strong correlation between the composite data of the successful groups and that of the unsuccessful groups. The factors that both types of groups identified as having the greatest impact on the success of teams in the workplace can best be described as character traits. These traits, in the order of importance established by the focus groups, are shown in Figure 10–2 . Participants from suc-cessful teams identified the presence of selected character traits in team members as the most important determi-nant of team success. Participants from unsuccessful teams

FIGURE 10–1 (Continued)

FIGURE 10–2 Character Traits That Promote Successful Teamwork Source: Institute for Corporate Competitiveness, Final Report: Team Success Study , 3rd ed. (Niceville, FL: Institute for Corporate Competitiveness, 2011), 3–4.


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teams. Moreover, in a work setting the race is run again every day, and the baton is passed more frequently.

. Initiative. Initiative means recognizing what needs to be done and doing it without waiting to be told. This character trait means that team members never say, “That’s not my job.” In a team setting, whatever is nec-essary to get the job done is everybody’s job.

. Patience. The most difficult challenge facing members of teams is learning to work together. It is easier for people not to get along than it is to get along. In a sense, working in a team is contrary to human nature. People by nature tend to be individualistic. Consequently, there are going to be tensions and troubles as people make the difficult transition from individuals to group members. To stay together long enough to make this transition, team mem-bers must be patient with and supportive of each other.

. Resourcefulness. Resourceful people find ways to get the job done in spite of an apparent lack of resources. A resourceful person will make wise use of materials and ideas that others might overlook or even discard. Having such people on a team will make the team more effective.

. Punctuality. People who are punctual (on time, on schedule) show respect for their team members and their time. A team cannot function fully without all of its members present: Members who are tardy or absent impede the performance of their team. Team members who are punctual can be depended on to be where they are supposed to be when they are supposed to be there.

. Tolerance/sensitivity. The people in teams can be dif-ferent in many ways. They might be different in terms of gender, race, or religion. They might have cultural differences and different political outlooks. The mod-ern workplace is an increasingly diverse environment. Diversity can strengthen a team, provided that team members are sensitive to and tolerant of individual dif-ferences in people. Insensitive team members who can relate only to people like themselves don’t make good team players.

. Perseverance. To persevere is to persist unrelentingly in trying to accomplish a task in spite of obstacles. People who persevere make valuable team members because they serve as beacons of encouragement when the team becomes engulfed in a fog of difficulty. The natural human tendency is to want to give up when problems arise. However, if just one or two team mem-bers are willing to persevere, the others will usually buckle down and keep trying.

TEAMS ARE COACHED—NOT BOSSED If employees are going to be expected to work together as a team, managers and supervisors have to realize that teams are coached—they are not bossed. Team leaders, regardless

the lack of these traits can have. The input of study partici-pants is summarized as follows: 2

. Honesty/integrity. To build trust, team members must be honest with each other. Honesty is the cornerstone of trust, and trust is the cornerstone of teamwork. Team members depend on each other in ways that affect them every day on a personal level (e.g., job performance, job security, wages, and promotions). It is difficult at best for people to place their personal interests even partially in the hands of other people. To do so, there must be a high level of trust. Building that trust begins with honesty.

. Selflessness. This character trait means that people are willing to put the team’s interests ahead of their own. A team can move only as fast as its slowest member. This means that there will always be team members who will get out in front of the pack unless they rein themselves in. Being willing to do this is critical to the success of a team. Rather than running ahead of the pack, faster team members should help slower team members improve so that the pace of the overall team is improved.

. Dependability. People who are dependable consist-ently do what they are supposed to do, when they are supposed to do it, and how they are supposed to do it. Because team members must depend on each other, this character trait is critical. The performance of the team depends on the performance of its members. Consequently, the team relies on its members and the members rely on each other.

. Enthusiasm. The concept of team spirit is real. People who are enthusiastic about their work typically do it better. The good news is that enthusiasm is contagious. The bad news is that despondency and negativism are also contagious. Every team will face roadblocks, unex-pected barriers, and difficulties. Enthusiasm can help team members persevere when the road gets rocky. Despondency, on the other hand, promotes a defeatist attitude that says, “When times are tough, give up.”

. Responsibility. This character trait means that people know what is expected of them and are willing to be held accountable for doing what is expected. Successful teams and team members take responsibility for their actions, decisions, and performance. Failing teams and team members tend to avoid responsibility. They are prone to blame others as well as each other when things go wrong. Taking responsibility holds teams together during difficult times. Pointing the finger of blame breaks up teams when things aren’t going well.

. Cooperativeness. People who work together must cooperate with each other. Think of a team that runs relay races. Much of the success of the team depends on how well they cooperate in passing the baton. If the individual members of the team do not cooperate in this critical phase of the process, the team will lose no mat-ter how fast each individual runs his or her portion of the race. The same concept applies to members of work


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activities. According to David Cottrell, effective mentors help team members by 3

. Developing their job-related competence

. Building character

. Teaching them the corporate culture

. Teaching them how to get things done in the organization

. Helping them understand other people and their viewpoints

. Teaching them how to behave in unfamiliar settings or circ*mstances

. Giving them an insight into differences among people

. Helping them develop success-oriented values

. Helping them to establish themselves in the organization

. Giving them a better chance to succeed

Mutual Respect It is important for team members to respect their coach, for the coach to respect his or her team members, and for team members to respect each other. In fact, it is more important to have mutual respect in teams than to have members who like each other. Respect is built on the following factors:

. Trust made tangible. Trust is built by (a) setting the example, (b) sharing information, (c) explaining per-sonal motives, (d) avoiding both personal criticisms and personal favors, (e) handing out sincere rewards and recognition, and (f) being consistent in disciplining.

. Appreciation of people as assets. Appreciation for people is shown by (a) respecting their thoughts, feel-ings, values, and fears; (b) respecting their desire to lead and follow; (c) respecting their individual strengths and differences; (d) respecting their desire to be involved and to participate; (e) respecting their need to be win-ners; (f) respecting their need to learn, grow, and develop; (g) respecting their need for a safe and healthy workplace that is conducive to peak performance; and (h) respecting their personal and family lives.

. Communication that is clear and candid. Commu-nication can be made clear and candid if coaches will do the following: (a) open their eyes and ears—observe and listen; (b) say what they want and say what they mean (be tactfully candid); (c) give feedback constantly and encourage team members to follow suit; and (d) face conflict within the team head-on; that is they don’t let resentment among team members simmer until it boils over—they handle it now.

. Ethics that are unequivocal. Ethics can be made une-quivocal by (a) working with the team to develop a code of ethics; (b) identifying ethical conflicts or poten-tial conflicts as early as possible; (c) rewarding ethical behavior; (d) disciplining unethical behavior, and doing so consistently; and (e) before bringing in new team members, making them aware of the team’s code of

of their respective titles (manager, supervisor, etc.), need to understand the difference between bossing and coaching. Bossing, in the traditional sense, involves planning work, giving orders, monitoring programs, and evaluating per-formance. Bosses approach the job from an “I’m in charge—do as you are told” perspective.

Coaches, on the other hand, are facilitators of team development and continually improved performance. They approach the job from the perspective of leading the team in such a way that it achieves peak performance levels on a consistent basis. This philosophy is translated into everyday behavior in several ways, which are as follows:

. Coaches give their teams a clearly defined charter.

. Coaches make team development and team building a constant activity.

. Coaches are mentors.

. Coaches promote mutual respect between themselves and team members and among team members.

. Coaches make human diversity within a team a plus.

Clearly Defined Charter One can imagine a basketball, soccer, or track coach calling her team together and saying, “This year we have one over-riding purpose—to win the championship.” In one simple statement, this coach has clearly and succinctly defined the team’s charter. All team members now know that everything they do this season should be directed at winning the cham-pionship. The coach didn’t say the team would improve its record by 25 points, improve its standing in the league by two places, or make the playoffs, all of which would be wor-thy missions. This coach has a greater vision—this year the team is going for the championship. Coaches of work teams should be just as specific in explaining the team’s mission to team members.

Team Development and Team Building The most constant presence in an athlete’s life is practice. Regardless of the sport, athletic teams practice constantly. During practice, coaches work on developing the skills of individual team members and the team as a whole. Team development and team building activities are ongoing for-ever. Coaches of work teams should follow the lead of their athletic counterparts. Developing the skills of individual team members and building the team as a whole should be a normal part of the job—a part that takes place regularly, forever.

Mentoring Good coaches are mentors. This means they establish a helping, caring, nurturing relationship with team members. Developing the capabilities of team members, improving the contribution individuals make to the team, and help-ing team members advance their careers are all mentoring


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. Confront cultural clashes. Wise coaches meet con-flict among team members head-on and immediately. This approach is particularly important when the con-flict is based on diversity issues. Conflicts that grow out of issues related to religion, culture, ethnicity, age, or gender are more potentially volatile than everyday disa-greements over work-related concerns. Consequently, conflict that is based on or aggravated by human differ-ences should be confronted promptly. Few things will polarize a team faster than diversity-related disagree-ments that are allowed to fester and grow.

. Eliminate institutionalized bias. A company in which the workforce had historically been predomi-nantly male now has a workforce in which women are the majority. However, the physical facility still has 10 men’s restrooms and only 2 for women. This imbalance is an example of institutionalized bias. Teams may find themselves unintentionally slighting members simply out of habit or tradition. This is the concept of discrimi-nation by inertia . It happens when the demographics of a team change but its habits, traditions, procedures, and work environment do not.

An effective way to eliminate institutional bias is to cir-culate a blank notebook and ask team members to record—without attribution—instances and examples of institutional bias. After the initial circulation, repeat the process periodi-cally. The coach can use the input collected to help eliminate institutionalized bias. By collecting input directly from team members and acting on it promptly, coaches can ensure that discrimination by inertia is not creating or perpetuating quiet but debilitating resentment.

HANDLING CONFLICT IN TEAMS The following conversation took place in a meeting the authors once attended. A CEO had called together employ-ees in his company to deal with issues that were disrupting work. Where the company wanted teamwork, it was getting conflict. Where it wanted mutual cooperation, it was getting bickering. The conversation started something like this:

CEO: We all work for the same company, don’t we?

EMPLOYEES: [Nods of agreement.]

CEO: We all understand that we cannot do well unless the company does well, don’t we?

EMPLOYEES: [Nods of agreement.]

CEO: Then we want the company to do well, don’t we?

EMPLOYEES: [Nods of agreement.]

CEO: Then we are all going to work together toward the same goal, aren’t we?

EMPLOYEES: [Silence. All employees stared uncomfort-ably at the floor.]

ethics. In addition to these strategies, the coach should set a consistent example of unequivocal ethical behavior.

. Team members are assets. Professional athletes in the United States are provided the best medical, health, and fitness services in the world. In addition, they prac-tice and perform in an environment that is as safe and healthy as it can be made. Their coaches insist on these conditions because they understand that the athletes are invaluable resources. Their performance determines the ultimate success or failure of the organization. Coaches of work teams should take a similar approach. To pro-tect their assets (team members), coaches can apply the following strategies: (a) form a partnership between the larger organization and the team to promote healthy habits; (b) encourage monitoring and screen-ing of high-risk conditions, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and cancer; (c) promote nonsmok-ing; (d) encourage good nutrition and regular exercise; (e) organize classes, seminars, or workshops on such subjects as HIV/AIDS, prenatal care, stress manage-ment, stroke and heart attack prevention, workplace safety, nutrition, and ergonomics; (f) encourage upper management to establish an employee-assistance plan (EAP); and (g) stress important topics, such as accident prevention and safe work methods.

Human Diversity Human diversity is a plus. Sports and the military have typi-cally led American society in the drive for diversity, and both have benefited immensely as a result. To list the contributions to either sports or the military made by people of different genders, races, religions, and so on, would be a task of gargan-tuan proportions. Fortunately, leading organizations in the United States have followed the positive example set by sports and the military. The smart ones have learned that most of the growth in the workplace will be among women, minorities, and immigrants. These people will bring new ideas and vary-ing perspectives, precisely what an organization needs to stay on the razor’s edge of competitiveness. However, in spite of steps already taken toward making the American workplace both diverse and harmonious, wise coaches understand that people—consciously and unconsciously—tend to erect bar-riers between themselves and people who are different from them. This tendency can quickly undermine that trust and cohesiveness on which teamwork is built. To keep this from happening, coaches can do the following:

. Conduct a cultural audit. Identify the demographics, personal characteristics, cultural values, and individual differences among team members.

. Identify the specific needs of different groups. Ask women, ethnic minorities, and older workers to describe the unique inhibitors they face. Make sure all team members understand these barriers and then work together as a team to eliminate, overcome, or accom-modate them.


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Some people are so averse to human conflict that they respond by denying there is a conflict. All the while the con-flict they claim does not exist and is causing them intense inner turmoil. Team members who are torn apart emotion-ally over a conflict, they deny the existence of, cannot focus on peak performance, continual improvement, or the team’s mission. Team leaders who sense that this is happening should act immediately.

To be able to sense when a team member is respond-ing to conflict by denial, team leaders have to get to know their team members well-enough to recognize changes in their behavior. Team leaders who think a team member is bottling up negative emotions caused by a conflict should immediately arrange a face-to-face session with the individ-ual in question and discuss their observations. It is impor-tant to draw the employee out and help him or her confront the conflict in a positive way. An effective strategy is to draw the employee out and then allow him or her to vent. People who hold in their negative emotions are like a teapot—unless they can vent they will explode or implode. In either case, the end result is negative.

Another personally harmful response to conflict is retreat. People who retreat—physically or mentally—whenever there is a conflict hurt themselves in ways simi-lar to those who deny the existence of a conflict. Physically retreating when there is a conflict means just what it says—walking away from the conflict without engaging. However, the more common version of the retreat response is mental retreat. Retreating mentally involves pulling back into one-self and refusing to engage. This response has an emotional effect on the individual in question which is similar to that of denial. Consequently, team leaders should deal with team members who retreat from the conflict in the same way they deal with those who deny it.

The most extreme version of the personally harmful response to conflict is suicide. This is also the rarest ver-sion of the response, but it does happen. Some people are so averse to conflict that if it persists over time with no apparent end in sight, they respond by killing themselves. In the rare cases when this happens, there are usually other emotional and psychological issues involved beyond just the ongoing stress of conflict. However, persistent and continual conflict can be the straw that finally breaks the camel’s back if the individual in question is especially averse to conflict. This rare response to conflict illustrates once again why it is so important for team leaders to get to know their team members well, to observe their behavior regularly, and to act immediately if unexplained changes in behavior are seen.

Team Negative Responses Team negative responses to conflict are those in which the individuals involved attack each other. These attacks might take the form of covert backstabbing, grievances, lawsuits, physical assault, or even murder. When team members who are in conflict begin to attack each other, regardless of which attack mode they adopt, morale in the team will quickly fall followed shortly thereafter by productivity, quality, and all other performance

This CEO made a common mistake. He thought that employees would automatically work together as a team because this approach is so obviously the right thing to do. In other words, just give employees a chance and explain things to them and they’ll work together. Some of the rea-sons that people might not work well in teams—reasons that, in turn, can lead to conflict—are as follows:

. Ambition to get ahead coupled with fear of being held back by the team.

. Rapid change can cause employees to conclude that they can trust no one but themselves.

. Employees who have a “me-centered” outlook can find it difficult to work with others.

. Employees steeped in the traditions of rugged individu-alism and competition is king can feel that cooperation is not fitting for a vigorous person or organization.

. Egos that do not like to share credit.

In addition to these personal inhibitors of team-work and promoters of conflict, there is the example issue. Organizations that espouse teamwork among employees but clearly are not good team players themselves are setting an example that works against teamwork. Poor teamwork on the part of an organization will manifest itself in either or both of the following ways: (a) treating suppliers poorly, while advocating a partnership and (b) treating customers poorly, while advocating customer satisfaction.

If organizations want employees to be team players, they must set a positive example of teamwork. If organiza-tions want employees to resolve team conflicts in a positive manner, they must set an example of resolving supplier and customer conflicts in a positive manner.

How People in Teams Respond to Conflict People in teams respond to conflict in different ways depending on their psychological makeup, the quality of team leadership, the status of relationships within the team, and even seemingly unrelated outside factors such as finan-cial or domestic problems. All the possible responses to conflict can be placed in one of the following categories: (1) personally negative, (2) team negative, or (3) positive. An important responsibility of team leaders is to ensure that team members respond to conflict in a positive way. A posi-tive response to conflict is one that resolves the conflict in a way that builds team unity and supports the team’s mission.

Personally Negative Responses Personally negative responses are those that are harmful to the individual in question but not necessarily to other team members. The negative results of such responses, even if they do not harm other individual team members, can harm the overall team, however. Personally negative responses are denial, retreat, and suicide. Each of these responses has its own harmful effects and its own set of recommended responses for team leaders.


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guide them to a positive reconciliation that is good for them and the team. If mediation does not work, the team leader moves to the next step: arbitration. With arbitration, team leaders act as judge rather than referee. They listen to both the sides and make a decision. Of course, it is better to rec-oncile team conflict through mediation than arbitration, but when team members will not cooperate they leave the team leader with no alternative.

Although mediation and arbitration are classified as posi-tive responses to conflict, they do have a negative aspect that team members should understand. It is one thing to ask the team leader to intervene when two team members are in con-flict because they are sincerely convinced that their recom-mendation or solution is the best one for the team, and it is the good of the team rather than ego or a personal agenda that has them digging in their heels. However, if team members must take their conflict to the team leader for resolution because their stubbornness, selfishness, or personal agendas get in the way of reconciliation, they are letting down the team.

If team leaders sense that team members in conflict are involving them for other than positive reasons, they should let them know that doing so will cost them. It will cost them in lost credibility in the eyes of the team leader, and it will cost them in terms of the conflict-resolution rating on their next performance appraisal. Bringing a conflict to the team leader is certainly better than the negative responses explained in this section, but it is the worst of the positive responses. Teams function best when their members can disagree without being disagreeable, when they can disagree over ideas and solutions without the conflict becoming per-sonal, and when they can resolve the conflicts that inevitably arise between themselves without involving others.

Resolution Strategies for Team Conflicts Conflict will occur in even the best teams. Even when all team members agree on a goal, they can still disagree on how best to accomplish it. Team leaders and members can apply the fol-lowing strategies for preventing and resolving team conflict: 4

. Plan and work to establish a culture where individuality and dissent are in balance with teamwork and coopera-tion.

. Establish clear criteria for deciding when decisions will be made by individuals and when they will be made by teams.

. Don’t allow individuals to build personal empires or to use the organization to advance personal agendas.

. Encourage and recognize individual risk-taking behav-ior that breaks the organization out of unhelpful habits and negative mental frameworks.

. Encourage healthy, productive competition, and dis-courage unhealthy, counterproductive competition.

. Recognize how difficult it can be to ensure effective cooperation, and spend the energy necessary to get just the right amount of it.

measures. As it is with personally negative responses, it is important for team leaders to act quickly when they observe team negative responses because they have a tendency to be cumulative in nature. In other words, what starts out as cov-ert backstabbing—if ignored by team leaders—can escalate to grievances, lawsuits, physical assault, or murder.

While it may be difficult to grasp that workplace con-flict would ever escalate to the level of murder, it does hap-pen. In fact, it happens more frequently. One of the authors had to deal with just such a situation in recent years when an individual who serviced snack machines at his campus murdered a coworker on campus. A workplace dispute esca-lated over time until the individual in question plotted to be on campus when his adversary was scheduled to perform routine maintenance on a soda machine. Hiding behind the machine, the angry team member waited until his colleague walked in to service the machine. Stepping quickly out of his hiding place, the angry individual fired several shots from a handgun, killing his colleague. A sad situation was made even sadder when the victim turned out to be the wrong per-son. The team member who was the murderer’s target was tied up with other work so another team member made the fatal service call.

Instances of workplace violence such as this—although not everyday occurrences—are no longer uncommon. One needs to only watch the nightly news or read a newspaper to realize that harmful responses to conflict are becoming increasingly common. Consequently, it is important for team leaders to work closely with team members to expect and encourage positive responses to workplace conflict.

Positive Responses A positive response to conflict in a team is one that resolves in the conflict in a way that pro-motes team unity and serves the team’s mission. The most positive response is when team members in conflict work out their differences as responsible adults, putting aside per-sonal issues for the good of the team. In fact, this should be the stated expectation of team leaders. This approach might involve both parties mutually agreeing to just forget it or it might involve them sitting down and negotiating with each other. In either case, what is important is that: (1) they settle their differences in a positive way and (2) they settle their differences without involving other team members or the supervisor.

When team members in a conflict either cannot or will not settle their differences by themselves, the next step on the ladder of positive responses is to take their conflict to the team leader. With this response, the team members in conflict are careful to not involve other members of the team. This is what makes this approach a positive response. Conflict between two team members can quickly spread and result in the other team members choosing sides. When this happens, the entire team will be focused on the conflict rather than peak performance and continual improvement.

When team members bring their conflict to the team leader, he or she can begin with mediation. With mediation, the team leaders are referees. They listen to both parties and


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Team Building and Teamwork 159

When the new distance learning program was first established, the faculty showed no interest and the program fizzled. A survey of the faculty soon revealed several struc-tural inhibitors that had guaranteed failure. The first was a salary schedule that would pay a faculty member the same for 15 students (the minimum class size) as for 100. The second was a decision-making process that gave professors no say in setting maximum enrollment limits. The final structural inhibitor was a policy that did not compensate professors for developing courses and the corresponding courseware.

These inhibitors virtually guaranteed that the college’s faculty would turn its back on distance learning. However, when they were removed—with maximum input from fac-ulty members—there was immediate buy-in and the pro-gram took off.

Structural inhibitors to effective teamwork that are commonly found in organizations: 5

. Unit structure. Teams work best in a cross-functional environment as opposed to the traditional functional-unit environment. This allows teams to be process or product oriented. Failing to change the traditional unit structure can inhibit teamwork.

. Accountability. In a traditional organization, employ-ees feel accountable to management. This perception can undermine teamwork. Teams work best when they feel accountable to customers. Managers in a team set-ting should view themselves as internal emissaries for customers.

. Unit goals. Traditional organizations are task oriented, and their unit goals reflect this orientation. A task ori-entation can undermine teamwork. Teams work best when they focus on overall process effectiveness rather than individual tasks.

. Responsibility. In a traditional organization, employ-ees are responsible for their individual performance. This individual orientation can be a powerful inhibi-tor to teamwork. Teams work best when individual employees are held responsible for the performance of their team.

. Compensation and recognition. The two most com-mon stumbling blocks to teamwork are compensation and recognition. Traditional organizations recognize individual achievements and compensate on the basis of either time or individual merit. Teams work best when both team and individual achievements are recog-nized and when both individual and team performances are compensated.

. Planning and control. In a traditional organization, managers and supervisors plan and control the work. Teams work best in a setting in which managers and teams work together to plan and control the work.

Organizations that are serious about teamwork and need the improved productivity that can result from it must begin by removing structural inhibitors. In addition to the inhibitors described earlier, managers should be diligent in

. Value constructive dissent, and encourage it.

. Assign people of widely differing perspectives to every team or problem.

. Reward and recognize both dissent and teamwork when they solve problems.

. Reevaluate the project, problem, or idea when no dis-sent or doubt is expressed.

. Avoid hiring people who think they don’t need help, who don’t value cooperation, or who are driven by the desire to be accepted.

. Ingrain into new employees the need for balance between the concepts of cooperation and constructive dissent.

. Provide ways for employees to say what no one wants to hear.

. Realistically and regularly assess the ability and willing-ness of employees to cooperate effectively.

. Understand that some employees are going to clash, so determine where this is happening and remix rather than wasting precious organizational energy trying to get people to like each other.

. Ensure that the organization’s value system and reward/recognition systems are geared toward cooperation with constructive dissent rather than dog-eat-dog competi-tion or cooperation at all costs.

. Teach employees how to manage both dissent (not let it get out of hand) and agreement.

. Quickly assess whether conflict is healthy or destructive, and take immediate steps to encourage the former and resolve or eliminate the latter.

STRUCTURAL INHIBITORS OF TEAMWORK One of the primary and most common reasons that team-work never gains a foothold in certain organizations is that those organizations fail to remove built-in structural inhibi-tors. A structural inhibitor is an administrative procedure, organizational principle, or cultural element that works against a given change—in this case, the change from indi-vidual work to teamwork. Organizations often make the mistake of espousing teamwork without first removing the structural inhibitors that will guarantee its failure.

Consider the following example of how a structural inhibitor can undermine the most well-intended plans. A college decided to implement distance learning as a delivery system for students whose personal circ*mstances made it difficult to attend in a traditional classroom setting. The col-lege had no provision for paying professors extra for espe-cially large classes. Because the physical size of classrooms limited traditional classes to 40 or fewer students, the issue had never come up. But distance learning students attend class at home. Consequently, an instructor might easily have more than 40 students. In fact, with distance learning, aca-demic integrity was the only factor limiting class size.


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the incentive dollars into shares. Every member of the team receives a certain number of shares based on his perceived contribution to the team’s success that year.

Figure 10–4 is a model that can be used for establish-ing a compensation system that reinforces both team and individual performance. The Step 1 in this model involves deciding what performance outcomes will be measured (individual and team outcomes). Step 2 involves how the outcomes will be measured. What types of data will tell the story? How can these data be collected? How frequently will the performance measurements be made? Step 3 involves deciding what types of rewards will be offered (monetary, nonmonetary, or a combination of the two). This is the step in which rewards are organized into levels that correspond to levels of performance so that the reward is in proportion to the performance.

The issue of proportionality is important when design-ing incentives. If just barely exceeding a performance goal results in the same reward given for substantially exceeding it, just barely is what the organization will get. If exceeding a goal by 10% results in a 10% bonus, then exceeding it by 20% should result in a 20% bonus, and so on. Proportionality and fairness are characteristics that employees scrutinize with care when examining an incentive formula. Any for-mula that is perceived as unfair or disproportionate will not have the desired result.

The final step in the model in Figure 10–4 involves integrating the compensation system with other perform-ance-related processes. These systems include performance appraisal, the promotion process, and staffing. If team-work is important, one or more criteria relating to team-work should be included in the organization’s performance appraisal process.

rooting out others that exist in their organizations. An effec-tive way to identify structural inhibitors in an organization is to form focus groups of employees and ask the following question: “ What existing administrative procedures, organi-zational principles, or cultural factors will keep us from work-ing effectively in teams? ” Employees are closer to the most likely inhibitors on a daily basis and can, therefore, provide invaluable insight in identifying them.

REWARDING TEAM AND INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCE An organization’s attempts to institutionalize teamwork will fail unless it includes implementation of an appropri-ate compensation system: in other words, if you want team-work to work, make it pay. Employees are still compensated as individuals. The most successful compensation systems combine both individual and team pay.

This matter is important because few employees work exclusively in teams. A typical employee, even in the most team-oriented organization, spends a percentage of his or her time involved in team participation and a percentage involved in individual activities. Even those who work full-time in teams have individual responsibilities that are car-ried out on behalf of the team.

Consequently, the most successful compensation sys-tems have the components shown in Figure 10–3 . With such a system, all employees receive their traditional individual base pay. Then there are incentives that allow employees to increase their income by surpassing goals set for their indi-vidual performance. Finally, other incentives are based on team performance. In some cases, the amount of team com-pensation awarded to individual team members is based on their individual performance within the team or, in other words, on the contribution they made to the team’s per-formance.

An example of this approach can be found in the world of professional sports. All baseball players in both the National and the American Leagues receive a base amount of individual compensation. Most also have a number of incentive clauses in their contracts to promote better indi-vidual performance. Team-based incentives are offered if the team wins the World Series or the league champion-ship. When this happens, the players on the team divide

FIGURE 10–4 Model for Developing a Team and Individual Compensation System FIGURE 10–3 Typical Team Compensation Components


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Team Building and Teamwork 161

RECOGNIZING TEAMWORK AND TEAM PLAYERS One of the strongest human motivators is recognition . People don’t just want to be recognized for their contribu-tions; they need to be recognized. The military applies this fact very effectively. The entire system of military commen-dations and decorations (medals) is based on the positive human response to recognition. No amount of pay could compel a young soldier to perform the acts of bravery that are commonplace in the history of the United States mili-tary. But the recognition of a grateful nation continues to spur on men and women to incredible acts of valor every time our country is involved in an armed conflict. There is a lesson here for nonmilitary organizations.

The list of methods for recognizing employees goes on ad infinitum . There is no end to the ways that the intangible concept of employee appreciation can be expressed. What follows are just a few examples of recognition strategies:

. Write a letter to the employee’s family members telling them about the excellent job the employee is doing.

. Arrange for a senior-level manager to have lunch with the employee.

. Have the CEO of the organization call the employee personally (or stop by in person) to say, “Thanks for a job well done.”

. Find out what the employee’s hobby is and publicly award him or her a gift relating to that hobby.

. Designate the best parking space in the lot for the “Employee of the Month.”

. Create a “Wall of Fame” to honor outstanding per-formance.

These examples are provided to trigger ideas but are only a sampling of the many ways that employees can be recognized. Every individual organization should develop its own locally tailored recognition options. When doing so, the following rules of thumb will be helpful:

. Involve employees in identifying the types of recogni-tion activities to be used. Employees are the best judge of what will motivate them.

. Change the list of recognition activities periodically. The same activities used over and over for too long will become stale.

. Have a variety of recognition options for each level of performance. This will allow employees to select the type of reward that appeals to them the most.

LEADING MULTICULTURAL TEAMS Most industrialized countries are becoming more and more diverse in terms of their populations, but few can equal the level of diversity in the United States. The United States has become one of the most diverse countries in the world.

Correspondingly, the employee’s ratings on the team-work criteria in a performance appraisal should be consid-ered when making promotion decisions. An ineffective team player should not be promoted in an organization that val-ues teamwork. Other employees will know, and teamwork will be undermined. Finally, during the selection process, applicants should be questioned concerning their views on teamwork. It is senseless for an organization that values teamwork to hire new employees who, during their inter-view, show no interest in or aptitude for teamwork.

Nonmonetary Rewards A common mistake made when organizations first attempt to develop incentives is thinking that employees will respond only to dollars in a paycheck. However, nonmonetary rewards can be effective as incentives. Widely used nonmonetary rewards that have proven to be effective include the follow-ing: movie tickets, gift certificates, time off, event tickets, free attendance at seminars, getaway weekends for two, airline tickets, and prizes such as electronic or household products.

Different people respond to different incentives. Consequently, what will work can be difficult to predict. A good rule of thumb to apply when selecting nonmonetary incentives is “Don’t assume—ask.” Employees know what appeals to them. Before investing in nonmonetary incen-tives, organizations should survey their employees. List as many different potential nonmonetary rewards as possible and let employees rate them. In addition, set up the incen-tive system so that employees, to the extent possible, are able to select the reward that appeals to them. For example, employees who exceed performance goals (team or individ-ual) by 10% should be allowed to select from among several equally valuable rewards on the “10% Menu.” Where one employee might enjoy dinner tickets for two, another might be more motivated by tickets to a sporting event. The better an incentive program is able to respond to individual prefer-ences, the better it will work.


Monitoring Team Performance Is Not Micromanaging

Team leaders who are committed to empowering their team members sometimes confuse monitoring with micromanaging. They think that empowering team members means getting out of their way and letting them do their jobs, and this is partially correct. But it also means monitoring continually to ensure progress. Monitoring is done to identify roadblocks and remove them, to ensure that team members have what they need in order to do what is expected, and to provide encouragement. Team leaders monitor so that they can help solve problems that arise before they impede the work of team members. Micromanaging, on the other hand, is about giving team members a job to do and then looking over their shoulders constantly and saying, “Do it like this or do it like that.” Monitoring helps team members, while micromanaging stifles them.


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differences of their team members. The following strategies can be used by those who face the challenge of leading mul-ticultural teams: 6

1. Adaptation. With this strategy, team members and leaders commit to adapting their attitudes and practices to accommodate cultural differences. The key to this strategy is willingness on the part of all involved to openly and objec-tively discuss and actually record cultural differences. Once the list of cultural differences has been developed, strategies for adapting practices and attitudes to accommodate the dif-ferences are developed. Adaptation is the most appropriate strategy for leading multicultural teams. It is particularly effective at preventing communication and decision-making conflicts because the types of cultural differences that are common in these areas are well-known. However, its under-lying assumption—willingness of all involved to openly and objectively record cultural differences—will be a stretch for some teams.

2. Structural intervention. With this strategy, team members are reassigned or the team is reorganized to reduce problems growing out of interpersonal friction between and among team members or to remove a source of conflict. This strategy is particularly effective for solv-ing problems relating to status and fluency issues. For example, if a given team member is the source of conflict within the team because he looks down on others who are not fluent English speakers, that member might need to be reassigned. If two or more team members are in conflict over perceived status issues—the team leader treats certain members better than others—the whole team might need to be reorganized.

3. Managerial guidance. With this strategy, higher management establishes ground rules—ideally before the team is constituted. This is the concept of the team charter explained earlier in this chapter. Either the team leader or a higher manager writes a mission statement for the team and then works with all team members to develop a com-prehensive set of ground rules that govern how team mem-bers are expected to interact. Since the team charter has the authority of higher management but is developed with the involvement of team members, it can be an effective tool for preventing culture-related conflict in teams.

4. Exit. With this strategy, team members who are unhappy on the team and cannot be mollified by any of the other strategies are allowed to simply leave. This “opt-ing out” strategy is the least desirable of the four presented. However, it is the most practical. There will be times when a given individual just cannot or will not fit into a team. This person might be a valuable asset to the organization but is not an effective member of the team in question. When this is the case, it is better to simply acknowledge the fact and replace him or her on the team.

People from almost every other nation and culture in the world have immigrated and become American citizens. This means that work teams in American organizations are increasingly diverse. Leading multicultural work teams can pose several special challenges for managers, supervisors, and team leaders.

Culture-related challenges that often arise in work teams include differing (1) approaches to communicating, (2) attitudes toward work, (3) attitudes toward author-ity, and (4) approaches to decision making. For example, people from Western countries and particularly the United States tend to be direct and to the point when communi-cating ideas, recommendations, and opinions. People from Asian countries tend to be less so. This can cause miscom-munication and frustration when people from the two cul-tures serve on the same team. In addition to the different approaches to communicating, problems can arise out of language fluency or a lack of it. People tend to think that someone who does not speak their language well is not intelligent. For example, a fluent English speaker might question the intelligence of a teammate from another coun-try and culture whose English skills were not yet well-devel-oped and vice versa.

Attitudes toward authority can cause problems in work teams. For example, people from Asian cultures tend to have a higher level of regard for hierarchical author-ity than do Westerners. In most high-performing Western organizations, all team members are expected to speak out, state opinions, make recommendations, and sug-gest solutions regardless of their relative rank outside of the team. However, people from Asian cultures tend to be more cognizant of challenging or disagreeing with others on the team who have more hierarchical authority outside of the team. An Asian team member would be reluctant to embarrass a person of higher authority and risk caus-ing him or her to lose face, while people from the United States tend to view membership on a team in less hierar-chical terms.

Cultural differences can also lead to differences in how decisions are made. For example, people from the United States tend to be as direct and to the point when making decisions as they are when communicating. But people from Asian and Latin countries tend to be more deliberate. In addition, once a decision is made, people from the United States like to move on to the next item. People from Asian and Latin cultures are likely to want to revisit items, even after they have been decided—at least in the minds of team members from the United States.

Strategies for Leading Multicultural Teams People who lead multicultural teams can and should take steps to mitigate the problems that arise from the cultural


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Team Building and Teamwork 163



Ground rules

Mission statement

Needs assessment

Nonmonetary rewards


Structural inhibitors

Task force

Team building



1. What is a team, and why are teams important?

2. When does a group of people become a team?

3. Explain the strategies for being an effective team leader.

4. What are the characteristics of a good team mission statement?

5. Define the concept of collegial relationships.

6. Describe how to promote diversity in teams.

7. Explain the concept of institutionalized bias.

8. Explain why some employees are not comfortable being team players.

9. List and describe four common structural inhibitors of teamwork in organizations.

10. Explain the concept of nonmonetary rewards.


Everybody Talks About Teamwork, but Nobody Does It Teamwork is not working at Southeastern Electric Company (SEC). Juan Morales, quality director for SEC, is growing increasingly frustrated. The company’s executive managers all advocate teamwork. A cross-functional team developed a promotional campaign with a teamwork motto, banners, bulletins, and a video. Everybody talks about teamwork, but nobody does it. Juan doesn’t know what to do. If he asked for your advice, what would you tell him to do? How can he iden-tify the problem, and what steps should he take to resolve it?


It is important to learn how to develop a comprehensive, clearly articulated team charter. Assume that you and your fellow students are a team in an organization (you choose the kind and size of organization). The task is to develop a team charter.


1. A team is a group of people with a common, collective goal. The rationale for the team approach to work is that “two heads are better than one.” A group of people becomes a team when the following conditions exist: there is agreement as to the mission, members adhere to ground rules, there is a fair distribution of responsibility and authority, and people adapt to change.

2. Factors that can mitigate against the success of a team are personal identity of team members, relationships among team members, and the team’s identity within the organization.

3. After a team has been formed, a mission statement should be drafted. A good mission statement summa-rizes the team’s reason for being in existence. It should be broad enough to encompass all the team is expected to do but specific enough to allow for the measurement of progress. The mission statement should be accompa-nied by a set of ground rules.

4. Character traits that promote successful teamwork are honesty/integrity, selflessness, dependability, enthusi-asm, responsibility, cooperativeness, initiative, patience, resourcefulness, punctuality, tolerance/sensitivity, and perseverance.

5. Teams are coached—they are not bossed. Coaches are facilitators and mentors. They promote mutual respect among team members and foster cultural diversity.

6. People in teams respond to a conflict in one of the fol-lowing three ways: (1) personally negative, (2) team negative, or (3) positive.

7. Employees will not always work well together as a team just because it’s the right thing to do. Employees might not be willing to trust their performance, in part, to other employees.

8. Common structural inhibitors in organizations are unit structure, accountability, unit goals, responsibility, compensation, recognition, planning, and control.

9. Team and individual compensation systems can be developed in four steps: (1) decide what performance to measure, (2) determine how to measure the perform-ance, (3) identify the rewards to be offered, and (4) integrate related processes.

10. Challenges faced when leading multicultural teams include differing (1) approaches to decision making, (2) attitudes toward authority, (3) attitudes toward work, and (4) approaches to communication.




Collegial relationships


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DISCUSSION QUESTIONS Discuss the following questions in class or outside of class with your fellow students: 1. Discuss with your class members how you would go

about developing a team charter.

2. Following the discussion, each student should develop a comprehensive team charter. Once this assignment has been completed, exchange charters with your class-mates and compare them. Discuss any differences and revise the individual charters to strengthen them, based on the discussion.


1. Institute for Corporate Competitiveness, Final Report: Team Success Study , 3rd ed. (Niceville, FL: Institute for Corporate Competitiveness, 2011), 3–4.

2. Ibid., 5, 10.

3. David Cottrell, Monday Morning Mentoring: Ten Lessons to Guide You Up the Ladder (New York: Harper Collins, 2006), 12.

4. “Resolving Conflict in Work Teams.” Retrieved from www.innovativeteambuilding.co.uk/pages/articles/conflicts.htm on January 15, 2011.

5. Patrick M. Lencioni, “The Trouble with Teamwork.” Retrieved from http://chapters.ewb.ca/pages/president/leadership-articles-and-links/The%20Trouble%20with%20Teamwork.pdf on March 4, 2011.

6. Jeanne Brett, Kristen Behfar, and Mary C. Kern, “Managing Multicultural Teams,” Harvard Business Review 84 (November 2006): 88–91.


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