9.3 Cases and Problems

Chapter Summary

  • Emotional intelligence can be improved over time, unlike IQ, which stays stable throughout life.
  • Emotional intelligence includes knowing and managing your emotions, motivating yourself, recognizing and understanding other people’s emotions, and managing relationships.
  • There are four types of communication at work: downward, upward, horizontal, and diagonal. All types of communication can happen at once, especially with the use of blogs and social networking sites.
  • Companies that use good communication tend to have less turnover and less absenteeism.
  • There are four main types of communication styles: expresser, driver, relater, and analytical. The better we can understand our own style of communication and the communication styles of others, the easier it will be to communicate with them.
  • Passive, aggressive, and passive-aggressive behaviors are not healthy ways of communicating. Assertive behavior, on the other hand, respects one’s own rights and the rights of others.
  • Nonverbal communication is one of the most important tools we can use to communicate how we feel. Watching others’ body language can give us signals as to how they may really feel.
  • Just like in communication, a different management style should be used depending on the employee.
  • Task styles focus on getting the job done, while people-centered styles focus on relationships.
  • A participatory style involves both task-oriented and people-centered styles. A directing style is focused on the task and doesn’t allow for employee participation. A teamwork style focuses on teamwork and is a people-oriented style. The advantage of this style is the ability to use strengths from everyone on the team.
  • An autocratic style doesn’t allow much room for employee decision making; the focus is on getting the task done. A participative style constantly requires input from employees. The free-rein style gives employees freedom to make decisions on how things will get done.
  • The situational leadership model, which looks at relationship behavior, task behavior, and the readiness of employees, is used to recommend different management styles.
  • No one management style works in all situations. Just like with communication, you will likely want to vary your approach based on the situation to get the best results.

Chapter Case

Management Style, Applied

You recently completely overhauled several aspects of employee benefits, including health insurance and compensation packages. You have also developed clear succession plans and career development plans to assist in the retention of your current employees. You are pretty excited about the changes and feel they are better for the employees, while costing your organization less money. These plans came from your development of a strategic plan and goals set last year. You think these plans will result in lower turnover.

However, in four recent exit interviews, the former employees mentioned the lack of communication from your department on the changes you made. They said they did not feel well informed and are disappointed they were not notified. In addition, they complained of micromanagement on the part of two particular managers. They said they spend half of their day responding to their managers with project updates, instead of working on the projects themselves. As you begin to think about these exit interviews, you realize that development of the strategic plan and implementing it simply isn’t enough; you must communicate the changes to employees as well. You also have a bit of concern about the management styles mentioned and think it might be a good time to offer training on effective management to your entire company.

  1. Using concepts from this chapter and other HRM chapters, develop an outline for a training program on effective management.
  2. Discuss some of the ways you can communicate the following topics to the employees: changes to benefits, training opportunities, compensation plans, and succession plans.

Team Activity

  1. In groups of three to five, prepare a presentation you could give to a team of managers on management style and communication. In your presentation, address how management style affects employee retention.


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