Question 1: You are tasked with completing a coaching discussion with Linus Carver. How would you go about this discussion?
Before starting a discussion with Linus Carver, I need to ascertain objectives which need to be fulfilled from the discussion. The meeting may be started by appreciating the fact that he is handling the department extremely well by coming out with wonderful product designs and is an asset to the company. However, there are some behavioral fallacies which have been observed in the manner Carver handles his team. Carver solely handles a department and does not allow others to voice their ideas and opinions which make his team extremely frustrated. He improvises on the ideas given by his staff and presents them as his own. He even expects that like him, his team members will be able to put in long hours at work. All these issues are leading to low morale among the team.
Such behaviors are negatively affecting team motivation and despite efforts by the Assistant Vice President, Hinge, team building efforts in Nuf Fun have been far from successful. The short team results of the company’s performance is wonderful but in the long term this attitude will lead to serious trouble in the product design and development team and may adversely impact the performance of the firm.
Linus needs to appreciate and engage his team members. After putting in long hours at work, he may take them out for a cup of coffee or more so engage them in an informal discussion by thanking them for putting in extra time for the organization. These are the qualities which are seriously lacking in Linus Carver. He needs to seriously consider the ideas of his team mates and discuss certain improvising on them (if needed) and ensure that they are presented as being the idea of the team member.
Finally thank Linus for attending the discussion and displaying his willingness in resolving this issue. Start observing his behavior and keep on following up with Linus and this may need having additional coaching sessions with him.
Question 2: What were management's top mistakes in their handling of Linus's behavior and management style/mannerisms?
The management agrees that Linus is invaluable to them. This is one of the main reasons as to why they have continued tolerating his behavioral fallacies which has led to low morale and motivation in his team. Despite previous supervisor, Jim Wooden, team members Bellmer and the Assistant Director, Verity Hinde complaining about certain personality traits of Linus Carver, the management has not yet heeded to their complaints. An employee may be an invaluable asset to a firm, but the person may not be indispensible at least in the long run. This is a view which the management seriously needs to consider. Linus needs to engage, appreciate and help in building high team morale and motivation. His present disposition has his team members disgruntled and it has been observed that people had already moved to join in the company of a rival organization. Linus is extremely autocratic and does not allow anyone to grow in the organization. This is leading to serious issues related to performance, employee engagement and motivation. His management style needs to be participatory and not autocratic. Despite knowing the behavioral issues of Linus, the CEO of the firm for a long time did not take any serious steps to help modify Linus’s high handed behavior.
Question 3: Do you believe that Linus's performance is infinitely sustainable? Why or why not?
Linus Carver single handedly runs a department successfully and is extremely valuable to the firm. However, his performance may not be infinitely sustainable. This is because he works under high levels of stress and may be able to continue this for a couple of years but not infinitely. Human beings retire after a certain age as they may not be able to continue putting in the hard work they did when they were young. The same may be inferred about the performance of an individual. It cannot be sustained infinitely because the person may display signs of extreme fatigue under conditions of stress and excessive hard work.
Question 4: How should a manager deal with an employee who is both a tremendous asset and a tremendous liability?
Linus carver is at the same time a tremendous asset and a tremendous liability. He is an asset because of his excellent performance and he is a liability because he is killing all efforts of team building, morale and motivating by not allowing his product development team to grow. A manager should engage in coaching discussions with Linus, identify certain areas in which he needs to improve and constantly monitor on his performance based on the areas of improvement. If this step fails, then the manager may have to take stringent step against Carver. This may be accomplished by allowing the product development team to present their ideas for a new product to the manager instead of presenting them to Linus. Accordingly, with the team being present, all members may be engaged in a discussion to improvise the product idea. This will ensure team building and employee engagement and at the same time it will also allow Linus to display his skills and creativity.
Adler, G. (1997). When your start performer can’t manage. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from http://hbr.org/1997/07/when-your-star-performer-cant-manage/ar/