The situation of changing the director of customer service in Mountain West Health Plans Inc. can be discussed from the point of effectiveness of this or that leadership style to achieve the company’s definite goals. During a long period of time, the position of the director of customer service was occupied by Evelyn Gustafson. Erik Rasmussen was hired to change Gustafson because of her retirement. Rasmussen’s first experiences in managing the work of the customer service department should be analyzed in comparison with Gustafson’s approach to the organization of the employees’ work within the department.
Evelyn Gustafson’s approach to managing the work of the customer service can be discussed with references to the specifics of the servant leadership. According to the characteristics of the servant leader, Gustafson considered the employees’ needs as important along with responding to the company’s mission (Daft & Lane, 2009, p. 430). However, non-profit interests were of the higher priority. Thus, the employees’ needs and interests were met, and the mission of the company was realized. According to the other classification, Gustafson’s leadership style can be discussed as more participating than selling in spite of providing the necessary training for employees. The participating style is characterized by the high level of concern for people and low level of concern for productivity and tasks (Daft & Lane, 2009, p. 418). This statement is relevant for Gustafson because she resisted the possibilities to increase the efficiency, improve the employees’ performance, and lower costs (Daft & Lane, 2009, p. 434).
The positive features of Gustafson’s leadership style are in supporting the positive atmosphere at the workplace with orientation to the employees’ needs; in the high level of employees’ motivation to provide the high-quality service according to standards, however, not to increase the statistical data; in meeting the customers’ expectations; in providing the employees’ with the necessary training; in the low rate of the workforce turnover (Daft & Lane, 2009, p. 434). Paying attention to these positive moments of Gustafson’s managing the employees and organizing the department’s work, it is possible to speak about the employee-centred leadership style (Lussier & Achua, 2009, p. 73). The weaknesses of Gustafson’s approach are in paying less attention to the employees’ productivity and work tasks and in possible decreasing the level of efficiency. Thus, there were complaints that customers spent much time being on hold (Daft & Lane, 2009, p. 434).
Erik Rasmussen’s approach to managing the work of the department and leadership styles are opposite to Gustafson’s ones. However, it is also necessary to concentrate on the weaknesses of Rasmussen’s strategy. Thus, Martin Quinn, the senior vice president for service and operations, faced such negative consequences of Rasmussen’s leadership behaviour as the climbing level of turnover and the decrease in the quality of services provided. It is necessary to note that in spite of all the positive features of Rasmussen’s style, the decrease of the service quality is the influential factor which can affect the reputation of the company and decrease the potential profits because of the subscribers’ dissatisfaction (Daft & Lane, 2009, p. 434). That is why, it is possible to provide some recommendations to correct Rasmussen’s strategy. Nevertheless, the recommendations should be developed with references to the positive accomplishments achieved by Rasmussen.
The positive features of Rasmussen’s leadership style are the realization of the necessary control over the company’s costs; the increased number of calls and the high speed of work against the statistical standards; the usage of the automated work schedules to increase the work efficiency and the implementation of the service calls’ recording. Thus, the main goal fixed by the upper-level management to bring the costs under control was achieved successfully (Daft & Lane, 2009, p. 434). However, Rasmussen failed making the positive relations with the employees and supporting the principles of cooperation within the team (Gitman & McDaniel, 2008). According to Lussier and Achua, Rasmussen’s leadership style can be discussed as job-centered (Lussier & Achua, 2009, p. 73).
Rasmussen did not try to build the positive relationship with the employees or persuade them to follow the new standards with the help of the necessary motivation. Moreover, Rasmussen’s leadership style can be described as the telling one, when a person determines the tasks completion as the more significant goal than the satisfaction of the employees’ needs (Daft & Lane, 2009, p. 418). In this case, the employees’ flexible schedules were changed with the more efficient automated schedules, and the atmosphere of work was not taken into consideration when the requirements for the speed of work were set.
The high turnover rate reflects the director’s problems in communicating with the employees. That is why, it is possible to recommend Rasmussen to orient to the employees’ needs and interests while motivating them to perform effectively and preserving the high level of efficiency. It is necessary to regulate the standards of work in relation to the quality and speed of the service provided when these components are correlated effectively, meeting the employees’ and customers’ expectations.
Daft, R. L., & Lane, P. (2009). Management. USA: Cengage Learning.
Gitman, L. J., & McDaniel, C. (2008). The future of business: The essentials. USA: Cengage Learning.
Lussier, R. N., & Achua, C. F. (2009). Leadership: Theory, application, and skill development. USA: Cengage Learning.