This past summer I began working at an auto detailing shop. I am a “team” manager and help the other employees with detailing cars and it can be very difficult at times. It can be difficult because the shop I work at is centered around hiring adults with cognitive disabilities. This makes it difficult for me to manage them because there is not one specific way to manage them, each employee requires different needs. Some of them need more direction and attention while others need more of a relationship style leader to help maximize their productivity.
When I first started, I struggled with managing the workers because I was too focused on getting the tasks completed. Based on the Leadership Grid, I was managing with more of an authority-compliance leadership style (PSU WC, 2019, L. 5).This was because I had not been around the workers enough to understand what they needed and how I could help them. I would often just tell the workers how to do something and then tell them to do it while I went and worked on something else that had to be done in the detailing process. Even if that worker would get distracted or didn’t do the task correctly, I wouldn’t say anything and end up just doing it myself. My boss noticed this and told me that I need to put more effort into getting the other workers to do the tasks instead of letting them slack off. To do this, I began to form more relationships with the workers so I could learn how to help and guide them.
After learning about the workers, I realized that each one needed different things and I was able to give each one the guidance that they needed. Based on the leadership grid, I soon became a team management style leader and had much more success. While I was still focused on the tasks at hand, I also began putting more emphasis on my relationships with the employees(PSU WC, 2019, L. 5).For my job, the team management style was very effective at getting the workers to be productive, but sometimes I had to change my style depending on the person. One worker for example, can’t really talk all that well so he decides not to most of the time. It was hard to develop a relationship with him and get him to do his job. He also would get distracted and space out a lot of the time. Using a different style approach, like the authority compliance style was more effective for this person. I had to often keep an eye on him and remind him that he needs to stay focused and continue working on his task (PSU WC, 2019, L. 5).
There is another worker who really likes to talk. When I first started working, I wouldn’t engage with them enough and instead would remind them what they needed to be doing and this didn’t work because this person began to get upset and annoyed with work. Taking this class helped me realize that I needed to switch up my leadership style for this particular employee. For this employee I decided to try the country club management style from the Leadership Grid and focus more on the social needs of this worker (PSU WC, 2019, L. 5).I began to engage more with this person and talking to them while working. This helped the employee to remain happy and because they were happier their work performance improved and they stayed focused much longer on their tasks.
Pennsylvania State University World Campus (2019). PSYCH 485 Discussion 5: Style and Situational Approaches [Video file]. Retrieved from https://psu.instructure.com/courses/2008237/discussion_topics/12613428?module_item_id=27074668.