GUIDE TO THE CASE "A QUESTION OF LEADERSHIP"
1 Mr. Yamamoto's Leadership Skills
The problem with this action, in terms of leadership, is as follows.
(1) He instructed his staff to create a plan for next year at very short notice.
His initial idea of introducing a basic draft plan and requesting that staff modify it with their own ideas into something more comprehensive was certainly in the right direction. The manner in which he instructed and lead his staff, however, was totally inappropriate. He obviously did not get what he set out to achieve.
At the very outset, he decided to create a comprehensive plan without prior discussion with his staff. He ought to have made them more fully aware of the necessity of this plan. It would, of course, have been much better if staff had proposed this step themselves. To bring their attention to the importance of this, he should have made introduced and embellished on the concept on as many occasions as possible long before. Following this, he could have discussed the idea in detail, more directly with his staff.
At the stage in which he presented this idea, his staff were ill-prepared to where to begin. They felt humiliated by the abruptness of this proposal and perplexed by the time scale given to formulating such an important plan. Supervisors must, on a daily basis, attempt to develop a positive attitude among staff towards active participation in the ongoing process of developing new ideas for the improvement of operations.
(2) Mr. Kawada's plan
An improvement plan or fresh idea may appear if unhindered by the process of being passed through the ranks. This only works, however, if there is a consensus among staff to accept this. The office, in this case, isn't open to such a process. The staff are unaccostomed to any action which breaks with traditional hierarchical order. Despite these circumstances, Mr. Yamamoto lectured Mr. Nishimoto, unit chief about the basic principle of how creativity may be enhanced in this manner. He felt embarrassed and humiliated by remarks which suggested that Mr. Kawada was more capable.
Mr. Yamamoto should not have received Mr. Kawada's draft at the stage in which he did. He should have praised his effort and ideas and asked him to review it first with Mr. Nishimoto before taking it any further. He should also have talked to Mr. Nishimoto more thoroughly and ironed out any misunderstandings.
(3) He built a concrete plan of his own and instructed that it be put into operation after showing only a draft at the previous staff meeting.
It is a mistake to believe that you have the full participation of staff on the basis that they attend every meeting possible. A democratic decision making process requires full active participation by all members of staff. Perfunctory attendance by no means counts for real participation.
There was no real feedback given in response to his plan. Either Mr. Yamamoto's ideas are exceptionally good, or his staff are afraid to criticize his idea in an office where hierarchy is very much respected. This form of management denies staff an opportunity to actively participate.
The fact that he went ahead in formulating a more concrete plan of his own, and instructed that it be put into operation without further consultation, showed a blatant disrespect for the intellect and creative abilities of his staff. They were denied the opportunity to express their ideas. Initially, he claimed that their plans would be welcomed. In the end, however, he created a detailed plan of his own and instructed them to follow it blindly. How could they trust him after something like this ?
He believed that the process had been democratic. In reality, however, this was far from the truth. This incident let to an uneasy atmosphere in the office. In circumstances such as these, having created a draft plan by himself, he should have left the fine tuning of these operations to the staff themselves.