A Day in the Life of Alex Sander
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Alex Sander is a no-nonsense, enterprising person who expects everybody in his team to overachieve and be as committed as he is to the project. It seems that he gets frustrated when assignments and when his instructions are not executed to the T. The 360° feedback he received from his boss predicts that Alex will likely not be an effective leader if he continues with his current path of aggressive behavior in the office. Glass mentions that Alex needs to work on valuing performance measures like the 360° tool, which is more honest about individual performance than the amount of money he earns. The feedback from Glass also implies that Alex become a more effective leader by assigning tasks and trusting his team members to effectively handle their assignments, without him looking over their shoulder or relieving them of their duties and doing them himself because he thinks he can do a better job. Nobody can handle multiple tasks, like the ones involved in his re-launch project, single handedly. Therefore, it would be beneficial to Alex to learn how to be, not only a team leader as the product manager, but a team member as well. Encouraging his fellow team members when they do something right (positive reinforcement), and giving them advice on what they are not exceling on. Without these essential skills, it is without a doubt that Alex will not have a successful career as a manager and leader.
The feedback brought out many points, including many comments about Alex being a nice person to work with, not for. The downward comments appreciated Alex’s self-starting personality, his dedication, as well as his willingness to learn. The upward comments mentioned aspects of his attitude that are admirable like his confidence, multitasking and excellence. Yet, there were hints of resentment because Alex is an over-achiever and works until the task is complete, whereas others can only work so much until they experience a burnout. Some felt like his drive was overshadowing their efforts, making them feel puny. An interesting comment in the colleague section mentions that Alex gives credit where it is due, but does not mention praise. There is a huge difference between giving credit and giving praise. Giving credit for ideas and work done is required but giving praise is not, that is why it is so important. It shows the team member that their work is appreciated and acknowledged, leading to more effort on future tasks. The only portion of the feedback that mentions Alex being a team leader is under the self-evaluation, but not under any of the other categories. It seems Alex has disillusioned himself into thinking that he is an effective team leader and that his approach of anger, micro managing and a negative energy in the workplace is the only way to get the job done.
In his interview, he mentions going with his gut on matters, herding the ad agency and sales force, and being a micro-manager. He never once mentions asking for input from his team members, which is a vital part of being a team leader. Alex’s tough approach seems to bring about temporary efficiency in his team members. Being pushy and commanding in a position of management causes those working under you to work harder to please. This usually lasts for a while, but most often fizzles out without a couple of weeks. This is because the employees are not stimulated to work in a satisfactory setting. The work that they are doing, in their eyes, is for their pushy boss who wants to make the deadline. When employees are not working with fulfillment, a management style such as Alex’s becomes toxic in the workplace environment.
We as human beings respond better to positive reinforcement and learn better in an environment that is conducive to encouragement, despite the fact that we occasionally fail. In a setting where any little mistake is scrutinized and met with anger and embarrassment is a setting where there is no satisfaction in the work being done, thus decreasing efficiency. If I was Sam Glass, I would definitely invest in Sanders leadership methods, possibly providing him with a class that centers on being a team player and making fellow team members feel appreciated and involved in the group. The problem is not Sanders’ work, it is his interpersonal skills in the workplace. I would hate to lose a hard worker and bright mind due to lack of effective leadership styles. Therefore, I will insist on him working out the kinks so that he can complement his exceptional work ethic with great leadership abilities.