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Attitudes and their Effect on Performance Essay

Attitudes and their Effect on Performance

Case Scenario:

            Alaine Insurance Company employs four employees in its Property Division.  Saeed, the lead worker of the division, has worked with Alaine Insurance Co. for over 25 years.  After applying for upper-level management jobs since year 20 with the company, he has given up on being recognized as management-quality.  Saeed has a reputation for being an over-demanding stickler within his division.  Saeed has three employees on his team:  Hamad, the most recently hired employee, works closely with and is trained in business property insurance by Talal, his counter-part hired four months prior to Hamad’s arrival.  Hamad and Talal are both attractive, college-graduates in their mid-20’s, and full of energy! Khalifa, the only female agent in the Property Division, is a part-time employee with 5 years experience in the insurance field whose current focus is in the Identity Theft unit.

            Shortly after Hamad’s 90-day probationary period ended, he requested to be trained in another branch of the Property Division.  Saeed told him that he would look into partnering Hamad with Khalifa, who had within the last year moved into the Identity Theft branch of the division.  However, after repeated face-to-face requests, weekly emails and a

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formal letter to his personnel file, Saeed constantly ignored Hamad’s adamant desires.

            Nearly two months passed, and Hamad requested a meeting with Saeed outlining his agenda to discuss the situation.  In Saeed’s office, Hamad asked Saeed if he was dissatisfied with Hamad’s work.  Saeed said that he was not.  Hamad asked Saeed if he thought Saeed could recommend any additional training or courses that would prepare him for the formal training in the Identity Theft division.  Saeed told Hamad that there wasn’t.  When Hamad directly asked Saeed why, after repeated verbal and written requests, Saeed would not move Hamad into the Identity Theft division, Saeed’s only reply was: “I don’t think it’s a good idea for you to work with Khalifa at this time.”  Hamad thanked Saeed for his time and left Saeed’s office.

            After approximately two weeks of pondering Saeed’s decision and finding himself unable to understand why Khalifa was a factor in Saeed’s decision not to train Hamad in the Identity Theft unit, Hamad saw Khalifa in the cafeteria during lunch hour.  He asked Khalifa if she enjoyed working in the Identity Theft unit and if she would recommend other employees training in the specialty. Although Khalifa spoke with an air of superiority, Hamad found her professional and direct during their conversation.  He went away from the impromptu meeting certain that Saeed was not reading a personal conflict between Hamad and Khalifa which would prevent her from providing him with training.

            During this time, Hamad and Talal became friends. They interacted outside of the workplace and Hamad found Talal easy to talk to and trusted him. Hamad began to share with Talal his frustration with not being permitted to learn more at a faster pace.  Hamad also resented Saeed’s decision not to work with Khalifa, from whom he thought he could learn so much.  Talal, in his attempt to be a supportive friend, suggested Hamad ask Khalifa to put in a good word to Saeed on Hamad’s behalf. Hamad thought it couldn’t hurt, assuming Khalifa remembered him from their conversation weeks before, and decided he would indeed speak with Khalifa the following week.

            Hamad approached Khalifa, as planned, during his break.  He went to her desk and asked her if she was available for lunch and she accepted.  During their lunch meeting, Hamad expressed his desire to be trained in the Identity Theft unit, under Khalifa’s tutelage, but had concerns about Saeed’s unsupported decision not to allow it.  Khalifa shared with Hamad her suspicions that Saeed desired a romantic relationship with her, which is why she was permitted to work part-time and begin working in the Identity Theft unit with only four years general experience in the industry, and without a college degree.  Khalifa reminded Hamad of the company policy for every employee to have at least 2 years experience in their unit, unless a lead worker/supervisor justifies moving an employee with promise and above-average performance.  She promised she would speak with their lead worker as soon as they returned to work.

            Three days later, Saeed asked Hamad to report to his office immediately.  In a closed-door meeting, Saeed handed Hamad a written warning in which he was notified of his “insubordinate behavior by intimidating an employee to seek advancement”.  Saeed informed Hamad of his intention to not allow Khalifa to train him, despite Saeed’s glowing performance evaluation of Hamad’s performance less than 60 days prior to this incident.  During the weeks that passed, Hamad was given written reprimands for tardiness and absenteeism.  He would not participate in unit events during holidays and rarely participated in meeting discussions.  On his annual anniversary, he was not recommended for a merit-pay increase.

Analysis:

            This case study provides an example how Hamad’s attitude, as well as the attitudes of those around him affect everyone involved.  Hamad began his employment with Alain Insurance Company as an eager, exemplary team player.  Saeed’s ineffective management skills, lack of communication, personal insecurities and blatant display of favoritism toward Khalifa eventually affected Hamad’s performance as an employee.  Hamad’s ability to learn quickly, work at an above-average pace with little or no errors, and willingness to communicate with his superior proved threatening to Saeed.  Hamad became an increasingly low performer whose morale had been diminished.  Where Hamad was once highly motivated and determined to perform at above-average levels, his performance declined below the basic standards of exhibiting good work ethics.

             Saeed’s exploitative – authoritative style of leadership is not a good fit for Hamad’s growth as an employee.  Saeed makes a decision about Hamad’s training in a new area of the company, yet he does not provide an appropriate set of goals for Hamad to work towards nor does he inform management of Hamad’s desire to learn more.  The consultative system would be an appropriate theory to apply.

            Hamad, an already self-motivated employee, would continue growing if his motivation was rewarded with the knowledge and experience he sought.  Had Saeed been open to Hamad’s desire to communicate with consistency and professionalism, he would appreciate Hamad’s enthusiasm, rather than be threatened by it.

            In short, Saeed’s attitude is the primary problem.  His own professional shortcomings, emotions (feeling threatened by Hamad’s self-motivation and ambition), and lack of leadership skills discourages Hamad’s willingness to be a team player.

Solution

            The solution to the problem outlined in this case study would be, firstly, to remove Hamad from under Saeed’s team.  This action would foster a sense of “safety” for Hamad and encourage him to focus on correcting his disciplinary issues without fear of further harassment and/or intimidation from Saeed.  Once Hamad showed a willingness to report to work every day and on time, allow him to train in the Identity Theft unit.  Monitoring his performance and interaction with consistent communication would exhibit a moderate amount of trust in him as an employee and increase his trust in management.

            Furthermore, as the basis of the consultative system involves employees remaining involved in making decisions, both Hamad and the Alaine Insurance Company would benefit from Hamad’s proven communication skills and ambition. The consultative system builds morale as a result of direct communication and cooperation between employees and leaders.  As such, Hamad would be able in a position to “plot his own course” and likely become a leader within the organization.

            Saeed would need extensive training to “unlearn” his authoritative, condescending style of leadership.  An employee assistance program to assist him with any negative emotions associated with his history as an Alaine Insurance Co. employee would be recommended as well.  Saeed would also benefit from communication workshops and/or business writing courses.  After monitoring Saeed’s performance and interaction, he too would be recognized as a valuable Alaine Insurance Co. employee and eventually rewarded through promotion to a management position.

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