Answering A Case Question Essays Example

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Leadership, Teamwork, Team, Skills, Expertise, Input, Project, Leader

Pages: 1

Words: 275

Published: 2020/12/01


On the day of Gibson’s departure, the XR16-THOR program at MAS was on the brink of failure. The program was two months behind its delivery schedule, and its current scope exceeded the one projected in the budget. In addition, the cost and schedule variances showed negative figures that attested to poor management. The engineering team responsible for overseeing the successful implementation of the program was dysfunctional. The lack of team cohesiveness resulted mainly from poor team leadership. Gibson, the former engineering area manager, showed autocratic leadership tendencies by rejecting input from team members and failing to communicate with and update them on matters arising from the project. As a result, team cooperation and cohesiveness deteriorated causing mistrust, communication breakdowns, misinformation, low morale, disorganization and inconsistent feedback from team members to other stakeholders. Furthermore, the members lacked knowledge on current issues arising in the different sections that each member supervised.
The situation in the case study was dire and immediate interventions were necessary if the program was to succeed. Autocratic leadership style is appropriate in situations that require quick decision making with few variables to consider. The XR16-THOR program however entailed numerous complex variables requiring a high level of analysis and input from experienced team members. Also, each member was in charge of particular parts of the program that were within their field of expertise, making the success of the project dependent on a seamless interdependent operation and contribution. As such, autocratic leadership was inappropriate for handling the project. Furthermore, each team member is highly experienced, ambitious, opinionated, secretive and performance-driven. Such attributes caused unhealthy competition that exacerbated communication problems since each person thought they could competently handle their portion of the program without input from others.
The case study also shows that expertise alone cannot build a functional team unless it is supplemented by a democratic leadership style and good social and communication skills. Both Wallace and Gibson had extensive work experiences, but they lacked communication skills. According to the trait theory, one is either born a leader or a follower (, n.d.). In this regard, Jackie had expertise but was a follower rather than a leader. She feared change and preferred the status quo, making her unsuitable for leadership. On the other hand, Welker was a naturally born leader with excellent rapport with people but lacked the expertise. The contingency leadership theory argues that leaders arise from different situations in which individuals find themselves (, n.d.). In the case study, Michael Adams is such a leader whose position resulted from the dire conditions facing the program. As a result, he successfully reversed the downhill trend of the project and managed to build the team’s cohesiveness. He also exercised democratic leadership style by seeking input from members.

References (n.d.). Leadership Theories - In Chronological Order. Retrieved February 28, 2015, from

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