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Leader Interview

Casa Myrna Vazquez is a non governmental organization that is based in Boston and that was founded in 1977 (Dym & Hutson, 2005). The organization was founded by activists and street workers who got tired of listening to outrage from the frustrated neighborhood women who were complaining about the abuse and beatings they got from their husbands and partners. The founders decided to start off by campaigning to help and assist these women. The organization was named after a woman of Latin origin named Myrna Vazquez who had died in 1976 (Casa Myrna Vazquez , n. d).

The main shelter at that time was located in Boston South End and was staffed by volunteers who helped to support the victims of domestic violence. The organization has since then added the number of shelters in the area after acquiring more buildings and converting them into emergency shelters for victims of domestic violence. It has also extended its services to other countries such as England and has become the foremost provider of comprehensive services to the victims of domestic violence.

The organization has added comprehensive range of services to the victims of domestic violence in a bid to help them recover faster and begin

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to rebuild their lives to healthier and safer futures. It offers emergency as well as long term transitional living to over 350 women and children. Its hotline number which is provided 24 hours a day responds to over 30,000 calls per year helping more than 15,000 women, children and families (Dym & Hutson, 2005). This paper discusses Shiela Moore, one of the Executive Directors of Casa Myrna Non Governmental Organization and her leadership styles in the organization.

It also discusses her achievements and the challenges that she has faced, as well as her strengths and weaknesses and gives recommendations and a plan of action that explains how the recommendations can be implemented. 2. 0 Shiela Moore – Executive Director Casa Myrna Vazquez (a) Biography Shiela Moore was born in a small Georgia town by teenage parents. Her family moved to Columbus and when she was 13, her parents divorced (Dym & Hutson, 2005). Her mother later remarried and they moved to Cleveland where she grew up in an African American neighborhood.

This made her become proud of her tradition as she was supported by the community. She also spent time with her grandmother during the summers when she was growing up and they would go visiting a relative every day in the evenings. She later realized that the visits were not just social visits but they were checking on their relatives to see how they were doing. Her grandmother taught her several things that molded her. Often she would clean the houses of the elderly neighbors and this taught her a lesson that it takes a village to look out for the welfare of everyone in the village.

As she grew up, her mother and her aunt who was a hospital administrator were her mentors. Her mother who was also her model taught her to be independent in everything that she did and only depend on herself. She believed in the value of education and pushed Moore to apply to Oberlin College (Dym & Hutson, 2005). Her mother also used an authority style of leadership at home and at work and this molded Moore’s confidence. Her aunt focused on policy development issues and she later inspired Moore to apply for a hospital administration program at a college named Xavier.

Once she was away from her mother and aunt, she acquired a sense of respectful formality which included appropriate attire at work. All these lessons helped her in her Managerial and Executive role in Casa Myrna Culture. (b) Shiela Moore’s Contribution to Casa Myrna When Shiela was brought into the organization, the organization was in need of strategic leadership and change. The organization was freewheeling in the grassroots level and stewardship was needed to drive the organization and make it professional. Under her stewardship, the organization was able to change and expand its existing operations, programs and services.

She developed innovative methods and approaches that helped in the treatment and prevention of domestic violence. In the process, she raised revenues and improved the overall capacity of the organization, enhancing its growth. In the year 1999, two years after she was made the Executive Director, the overall income of the organization had grown by over 19%. Its non governmental income had also grown by 26% while the assets had grown by 11% (Dym & Hutson, 2005). Prior to her appointment, the organization was at a deficit of $12, 500. She was also able to reduce the organization’s debts by 13%.

In the year 2001, she led an internal changing process that helped in improving the organization’s operations. This was through the installation of financial and information systems that transformed the management process and the culture of the organization for the better. She was also able to expand the partnerships with other organizations and agencies among them the Dorchester Domestic Violence Court. It has also joined alliances with international organizations such as UNICEF and other organizations in different parts of the world such as Japan and Israel.

Shiela has helped the organization shape the state policies through its participation in the statewide coalition of domestic violence service providers and its membership in the transition team of Governor Mitt Romney. (c) Situations Shiela Moore Faced in Casa Myrna When Shiela was appointed at Casa Myrna as the Executive Director, she was faced with several situations that also helped in portraying her leadership styles and abilities. She was not satisfied with the work ethic of the team at the organization which was doing a good job. She felt that they needed to do a great job.

They were working hard but they were not working smart (Dym & Hutson, 2005). The personnel in the different departments did not also know each other and they rarely interacted. This working environment was not suitable for the organization as it was not attracting the larger community to bring in more funding. The infrastructure within the organization was also not properly integrated and this hindered most of the operations of the organization. Decisions in the organization were being made from extensive conversations with little reference to the solid information.

When she took over, she knew she had a tough job ahead of her. She started off by looking for funding to help in the implementation of the strategic decisions and plans that she needed to make. She also focused on the finance and grant management. She gave the financial officer powers to make rules and regulations that every one in the organization had to follow (Dym & Hutson, 2005). The old culture of the organization was against this kind of leadership and was more based on hierarchy and role differentiation.

By giving the financial officer powers, changes were made in the administration and decisions making which was now based on facts and data rather than long discussions. During the staff meetings, Moore insisted on ensuring that people respect each other and listen to each others opinions. She centered on depersonalizing the activities of the organization and making them more professional. She then put the different departments of the organization on a performance basis, requiring each of the departments to set their own goals and overall strategies which they would then strive to achieve (Dym & Hutson, 2005).

This allowed each of the departments to advance and achieve their plans as they also get results for their actions. The implementation of the financial and information systems also led to improving the operations of each department. The staff was adequately trained on the new system and this enabled the internal operations to be aligned to the strategic plans of the organizations. (d) Traits of Shiela Moore that Contributed to her Success Shiela Moore possessed certain traits and behaviors that led to her successful leadership in the organization. Firstly, she was very intelligent.

She saw herself through school and college where she acquired the necessary management skills that she used with the organization to help in its transformation. She was also very confident in herself and this helped her in spearheading the strategic change that was needed in the organization. The confidence attribute also helped her to advocate for the organization and seek funds from agencies and other organizations. Her speeches also helped in forming strong relationships with the partners of the organizations and help the organization to join other international forums such as UNICEF (Dym & Hutson, 2005).

Shiela was also very patient and understanding. She worked with her employees and helped them to learn and adjust to the new culture she was introducing to the organization. She encouraged them to work hard and succeed in their roles and responsibilities. During the staff meetings, if she was not able to get through and accomplish something from any of the staff members, she could then do follow-ups using one-on-one encounters. In one instance, she took one of the employees who usually sounded off in every plan that she suggested (Dym & Hutson, 2005).

Shiela took her on for a few months with regular meetings and was able to change the employee who was opposing her into her camp. (e) Her Leadership Style Shiela Moore was a keen listener and listened to the employees arguments during staff meetings and Executive Board meetings of the organization. The employees and the other board members would then come up with decisions that she would let them follow as long as in her view, they were effective. She used to sit silently during the meetings and wait for the people to develop and come up with the solutions.

She hired people who were smarter than her and then supported them as they performed their work. The employees would then develop solutions to the issues facing the organization. She also allowed them to make ineffective decisions and solutions so that they would learn from their mistakes. She would then tolerate those who were not able to learn quickly through her patient nature. She was not used to firing employees but once she fired anyone she would do it in a way that sent a message to the entire organization (Dym & Hutson, 2005). (f) Servant-Leader Leadership Theory

The servant-leader leadership theory can be used to explain the leadership style that was used by Shiela Moore. In this leadership style the leader is responsible for the followers and their actions (Greenleaf & Spears, 2002). The theory assumes that the leader also has a responsibility towards the society and the disadvantaged in the community. The leaders tend to serve others rather than the others serving them. Such leaders are sometimes easily dismissed as soft, easy and shy. In this kind of leadership style the employees who are served by their leader are able to grow and develop their skills.

They become wiser and independent in their roles and responsibilities (Changing Minds, n. d). The employees benefit more from the leadership style than the leaders themselves. Some of the qualities of the leaders include being keen listeners, stewards, committed to the organization, being persuasive, having foresight and patience. They are also nurturing and they help to bring out the best in their employees. (g) Shiela Moore’s Strengths and Weakness One of the major strengths of Shelia included her sound management skills and knowledge.

This strength helped her to shape the strategic plans and decisions that saw Casa Myrna’s culture change into one that was very efficient. She also possessed another key strength of being visionary and this helped her to develop plans that formed part of the vision of the organization. Her mature nature, honesty and integrity also helped her to deal with people better, pulling them together to work in teams (Dym & Hutson, 2005). The only weakness that she had as an Executive Director was because of the fact that she did not have experience in handling battered women.

She was also not a part of the movement that dealt with domestic violence. She was therefore not able to relate easily with the victims that the organization was helping. This raised questions on her ability to lead the organization and understand the issues of the people they were dealing with (Dym & Hutson, 2005). She however used this weakness to learn more about the movement and became part of it. She also went further to include men in the handling of domestic violence cases that they dealt with. She involved the entire community to participate in handling the situation and this yielded more results.

The ethical issues that she faced in the organization included the fact that most of the people in the African American community were kept out of the organization when they wanted to help. The organization was also using boys instead of men in the staff and in the board. Shiela argued that the community was for everyone and there was no reason that the people had to be segregated and limited from joining in the activities of the organization. She then decided to break down barriers in the organization and include more men in the activities of the organization by increasing their numbers in the staff and in the board.

3. 0 Recommendations and a Plan of Action A recommendation that would help in improving the performance of the organization would be for the Executive Director to become more involved in the decision making to reduce the chances for the employees to make wrong decisions and solutions. This can be done through the director participating in the arguments and making their opinion known and not sounding as if they are pushing the employees to take up that solution. This can help in improving the solutions that the employees come up with.

Changes that are made to the organization can also be made in a way that ensures that the values and the quality of services of the organization are not lost. The various changes that Moore brought to the organization should have been assessed to ensure that the values that were in the old culture of the organization were not lost. While making the organization more professional, the human aspect of the assistance should be maintained to ensure that the overall mission of the organization is attained. The organization can train its staff to be more social and interact with the victims and sympathize with them.

Reference List Casa Myrna Vazquez . (n. d). Casa Myrna Vazquez . Retrieved August 18, 2010, from Casa Myrna Vazquez : http://www. casamyrna. org/history. html Changing Minds. (n. d). Servant leadership. Retrieved August 17, 2010, from Changing Minds: http://www. changingminds. org/disciplines/leadership/styles/servant_leadership. htm Dym, B. , & Hutson, H. (2005). Leadership in Nonprofit Organizations. California: SAGE. Greenleaf, R. K. , & Spears, L. C. (2002). Servant leadership: a journey into the nature of legitimate power and greatness. New York: Paulist Press.

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