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Howard: How to keep the of!ce functioning when the new manager is not ready for the job.

Marshall:Well, I have a lot to learn, but I feel up to it. With your help, I think we can have a smooth and productive transition. How about if you continue your meeting and I just sit in as an observer? Then, Bill, you and I could meet to work out a plan for how we’ll handle the transition. After that, I’d like to schedule a meetingwith eachmanager to get an individual progress report. I’d like to hear from each of you about your major customer service objectives and how you would assess your progress. Now, what were you talking about before I got here?

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This time, Marshall is still clear and “rm in establishing her authority, but she does it without appearing harsh or dictatorial. She underscores the importance of setting priorities. Note the deft use of a question when she asks whether Howard has a plan for making the transition productive. That lets her engage Howard while declining his invitation for combat. She emphasizes shared goals and de”nes a temporary role for herself as an observer. She focuses steadfastly on the task and not on Howard’s provocations. In keeping the exchange on a rational level and outlining a transition plan, she avoids escalating or submerging the con!ict. She also communicates to her new staff that she has done her homework, is organized, and knows what she wants. When she says she would like to hear their personal objectives and progress, she communicates an expectation that they should follow her example.

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Human Resource Frame A Human Resource Scenario

The human resource leader believes that people are the center of any organization. If people feel the organization is responsive to their needs and supportive of their personal goals, they will deliver commitment and loyalty. Administrators who are authoritarian or insensitive, who don’t communicate effectively, or who don’t care can never be effective leaders. The human resource leader works on behalf of both the organization and its people, seeking to serve the best interests of both.

The job of the leader is support and empowerment. Support takes a variety of forms: showing concern, listening to people’s aspirations and goals, and communicating personal warmth and openness. The leader empowers through participation and inclusion, ensuring that people have the autonomy and support needed to do their job.

The human resource frame favors listening and responsiveness, but some people go a little too far in trying to be responsive:

Howard: Didn’t the secretary tell you that we’re in a meeting right now? If you’ll wait outside, I’ll be able to see you in about an hour.

Marshall: Oh, gosh, no, she didn’t. I just feel terrible about interrupting your meeting. I hope I didn’t offend anyone because to me, it’s really important to establish goodworking relationships right from the outset. While I’mwaiting, is there anything I can do to help? Would anyone like a cup of coffee?

Howard: No. We’ll let you know when we’re !nished.

Marshall: Oh . . . Um, well, have a good meeting, and I’ll see you in an hour.

In the effort to be friendly and accommodating, Marshall is acting more like a waitress than amanager. She defuses the con!ict, but her staff are likely to see their new boss as weak. She could instead capitalize on an interest in people:

Howard: Didn’t the secretary tell you that we’re in a meeting right now? If you’ll wait outside, I’ll be able to see you in about an hour.

Marshall: I’msorry if I’minterrupting, but I’meager toget started, and I’ll needall yourhelp. [Shewalks around, introduces herself, and shakes hands with eachmember of her new staff. Howard scowls silently.] Bill, couldwe takea fewminutes to talkabouthowwecanwork togetheron the transition, now that I’m coming in to manage the department?

(continued )

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(continued )

Howard: You’re not the manager yet. I was asked to stay on for a week to get you started—though, frankly, I doubt that you’re ready for this job.

Marshall: I understand your concern, Bill. I know how committed you are to the success of the department. If I were you, I might be worried about whether I was turningmy baby over to someonewhowouldn’t be able to take careof it. But Iwouldn’t behere if I didn’t feel ready. I want to bene!t asmuch as I can from your experience. Is it urgent to get onwithwhat you were talkingabout, or couldwe take some time!rst to talk abouthowwecan startworking together?

Howard: We have some things we need to !nish.

Marshall:Well, as amanager, I alwaysprefer to trust the judgmentof thepeoplewhoare closest to the action. I’ll just sit in while you !nish up, and then we can talk about how wemove forward from there.

Here, Marshall is unfazed and relentlessly cheerful; she avoids a battle and acknowl- edges Howard’s perspective. When he says she is not ready for the job, she resists the temptation to debate or return his salvo. Instead, she recognizes his concern but calmly communicates her con”dence and focus on moving ahead. She demonstrates an important skill of a human resource leader: the ability to combine advocacy with inquiry. She listens carefully to Howard but gently stands her ground. She asks for his help while expressing con”dence that she can do the job. When he says they have things to “nish, she responds with the agility of a martial artist, using Howard’s energy to her own advantage. She expresses part of her philosophy—she prefers to trust her staff’s judgment—and positions herself as an observer, thus gaining an opportunity to learn more about her staff and the issues they are addressing. By reframing the situation, she has gotten off to a better start with Howard and is able to signal to others the kind of people-oriented leader she intends to be.

Political Frame A Political Scenario

The political leader believes that managers have to recognize political reality and know how to deal with con”ict. Inside and outside any organization, a range of people and interest groups, each with their own agenda, compete for scarce resources. There are never enough to give all parties what they want, so there will always be struggles.

The job of the leader is to recognize major constituencies, develop ties to their leadership, and manage con”ict as productively as possible. Above all, leaders need to build

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a power base and use power carefully. They can’t give every group everything it wants, but they can create arenas where groups can negotiate differences and come up with a reasonable compromise. They also need to work at articulating interests everyone has in common. It is wasteful for people to expend energy !ghting each other when there are plenty of enemies outside to battle. Any group that doesn’t get its act together internally tends to get trounced by outsiders.

Some managers translate the political approach described in this box to mean manage- ment by intimidation andmanipulation. It sometimes works, but the risks are high. Here’s an example:

Howard: Didn’t the secretary tell you that we’re in a meeting right now? If you’ll wait outside, I’ll be able to see you in about an hour.

Marshall: In your next job, maybe you should train your secretary better. Anyway, I can’t waste time sitting around in hallways. Everyone in this room knows why I’m here. You’ve got a choice, Bill. You can cooperate with me, or you can lose any credibility you still have in this company.

Howard: If I didn’t have any more experience than you do, I wouldn’t be so quick to throw my weight around. But if you think you know it all already, I guess you won’t need any help from me.

Marshall:What I know is that this department has gone downhill under your leadership, and it’s my job to turn it around.Youcangohome rightnow, if youwant—youknowwhere thedoor is. But if you’re smart, you’ll stay andhelp. Thevicepresidentwantsmy report on the transition. You’ll be a lot better off if I can tell him you’ve been cooperative.

Moviegoers cheer when bullies get their comeuppance. It can be satisfying to give the verbal equivalent of a kick in the groin to someone who deserves it. In this exchange, Marshall establishes that she is tough, even dangerous. But such coercive tactics can be expensive in the long run. She is likely to win this battle because her hand is stronger. But she may lose the war. She increases Howard’s antagonism, and her attack may offend him and frighten her new staff. Even if they dislike Howard, they may see Marshall as arrogant and callous. She lays the ground for a counterattack, and she may have done political damage that will be dif”cult to reverse.

Sophisticated political leaders prefer to avoid naked demonstrations of power, looking instead for ways to appeal to the self-interests of potential adversaries:

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Howard: Didn’t the secretary tell you that we’re in a meeting right now? If you’ll wait outside, I’ll be able to see you in about an hour.

Marshall: [pleasantly] Bill, if it’s okaywith you, I’dprefer to skip the games andgo towork. I expect this department to be awinner, and I hope that’s what we all want. I also would like tomanage the transition in a way that’s good for your career, Bill, and for the careers of others in the room.

Howard: If I need advice from you on my career, I’ll ask.

Marshall:Okay, but the vice president has askedme to let himknowabout the cooperation I get here. I’d like to be able to say that everyone has beenhelpingme asmuch as possible. Is thatwhat you’d like, too?

Howard: I’ve known the vice president a lot longer than you have. I can talk to him myself.

Marshall: I know, Bill; he’s toldme that. In fact, I just came from his of!ce. If you’d like, we could both go see him right now.

Howard: Uh, no, not right now.

Marshall:Well, then, let’s get on with it. Do you want to !nish what you were discussing, or is this a good time for us to develop some agreement on how we’re going to work together?

In this politically based response, Marshall is both direct and diplomatic. She uses a light touch in dismissing Howard’s opening salvo. (“I’d prefer to skip the games.”) She speaks directly to both Howard’s interest in his career and her subordinates’ interest in

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