Case 5.1 Marathon Runners at Different Levels
Case 5.1: Marathon Runners at Different Levels
The runners are new to this activity and have accumulated no experience at all. Because they are all novices to running, they are classified as (D1) under the development levels. Their excitement about the race and their effort to show up each day is an indication of high commitment. So under the development levels, they are D1, low competence, and high commitment. This group asks basic questions constantly and is worried about their abilities in the race. For this reason, David should adopt the qualities of a coach represented by (S3) leadership styles. The group needs direction on the technicalities of a marathon. David does not expect, however, to deal with these kinds of questions and is not prepared. He is rather prepared to use Directing (S2), in his mind, his work is to direct and not to encourage this group coming to him with childish insecurities.
It is clear from their choice of words and their concerns that runners in group two are considerably experienced and know a thing or two about running, they possibly lie under the (D3) developmental level (Northouse). With this group, David is at his element being highly supportive and because of their experience, he does not need to apply a hands-on approach or exercise high direction.
This group’s experience and the ability of several of them to finish in the top ten put them at the D4 developmental category. It might not be David’s fault that he appears ineffective as a coach for this team. Their ego and an idea in their minds that they need a certain level of practice and tactics mean they do not appreciate David. They feel bigger than the New York marathon and look to focus on marathons beyond this one.
David’s experience as a marathon runner himself is important for his coaching; his idea of the sport makes him suitable to speak to other people as a coach. The way he deals with group 1 may suggest a little bias, which is not a strong point for a leader. He needs to exercise patience if he is to succeed in this position. He also needs to exert a little more authority and demand respect from Group 3 runners.
Case 5.2: Why Aren’t They Listening?
The behavior of David, in this case, indicates that he is a supporting leader, high supportive but low directive. He does not coerce anybody into coming to the seminar and believes it should be a personal initiative.
The mid-level managers are in Developmental level 2 (D2) because their level of education, position, and probable experience mean that they have some competence but their lack of appreciation and support for the training is indicative of their low commitment.
Although Jim is trying to get his people to take initiative, which is quite an effective leadership tool if successful, he should have defined the direction and the objectives of the training through a prior discussion with the kid-managers. Support can only be guaranteed by inclusion that is why he should have discussed with the group and create concise and realistic goals as well as deadlines. Jim fails to give his group a sense of responsibility for this training.
Jim being a senior official has the capacity to demand some accountability. He can do this by developing questioning techniques and giving feedback to create a more engaging environment. He needs to set meaningful goals, which should make the managers find value in the time they are spending on that training. Without these objectives, no strategy can make these managers are more engaged.
Northouse, Peter G. Leadership: Theory and practice. Sage publications, 2018.