Key Issues/Summary Mary Chen leads the subprime mortgage department at a large bank whose employees are under stress and suffering from low morale due to negative general perceptions of their work as a result of the financial crisis. Absenteeism rate is high and many have even expressed their desire to move to another department. Chen’s manager has asked her to step into the leadership role and guide her subordinates through these difficult times. Chen is worried about this but has no clue as to how she should approach the problem.
Problem Statement Chen needs to take on the leadership role to improve her subordinates’ morale and enhance their loyalty to the subprime mortgage department.
Root Causes Lack of leadership experience in times of crisis is making Chen hesitant to take on the leadership roles required of her in these difficult times for the department.
Solutions Chen should play the leadership role of motivator which may involve verbal encouragement to performance-based bonuses. Chen should let her subordinates know that their hard work is appreciated and the management will reward performance with financial incentives. Chen may also arrange for recreational tours for employees and their families. Similarly, Chen may encourage after-hour social gathering of employees and should also participate herself in such social gatherings to send the message she is proud to be associated with the group and desires long-term working relationship with them. These social gatherings may also promote personal trust and admiration towards Chen among su bordinates.
Advantages The employees may be motivated to work harder due to direct link between job performance and overall compensation. The growing personal trust between Chen and her subordinates may also create sense of family and inspire everyone to work harder to fulfill each others’ expectations. Verbal encouragement would also fulfill employees’ needs for appreciation.
Disadvantages There will be higher labor costs. It is also possible that while it may improve job performance, it may not necessarily strengthen loyalty to department. It is also possible that the added benefits may fall below the additional costs of awarding performance bonuses.
Recommendations Chen cannot expect the crisis to pass unless something is done. This is time for Chen to show she is not just a manager but also a leader. Employees’ morale is low and loyalty to the department may be at an all-time low level. Chen has o show to employees she cares about them and their work is not meaningless. This means she should employ both economic and non-economic motivational tools.
- Cengage. (n.d.). The Subprime Department Blues. Retrieved July 3, 2014. Web.