1. Provide examples from your experience of the different kinds of leaders identified in the readings. Are typologies of leadership styles useful in the practice of management? If so, how? If not, why not?
2. Does a good manager need to be a leader? Is a leader necessarily a good manager?
3. Within any group a leader typically emerges. How can a manager effectively supervise an employee that emerges as a group leader and turn the leader-employee into a managerial asset?
4. Provide examples from your work experience of ways that managers strike the balance between their organization’s commitment to systems of control and to empowering employees. Are there systematic strategies to address these challenges?
5. To what degree does an organization’s success in this area depend upon the good instincts of middle managers and the good will of employees?
Who Gets Heard and Why
6. Tannen analyzes gender differences in communication within organizations. Does her analysis resonate in your experience? Have gender-specific differences in communication become less pronounced as participation by women at all levels of employment has increased or do they remain stubbornly fixed and inflexible?
7. In your experience are female bosses that speak and manage like their male counterparts perceived differently by their subordinates? How so? Why? Do women managers confront more resistance from male or female employees or is there no observable difference?
8. Do managers of color face obstacles comparable to those that Tannen discusses with respect to women? What about managers from minority religions? Old (or very young) managers? Managers with disabilities? Gay or lesbian managers?
9. What strategies can organizations employ to improve communications in light of the patterns, influences and challenges that Tannen discusses?
Strategic Workforce Management
10. How are reward, benefits and employee development systems aligned with strategy in your organization?
11. What, according to Huselid, Beatty & Becker, are A, B, and C ‘players.’ What role should each of these categories play in an organization’s strategy? Does your organization have a clear and coherent strategy for recruiting, training and retaining employees in all three categories? Are you in the category appropriate to your talents?
12. Kerr addresses examples of misalignment between strategic needs and reward systems. Give examples of reward systems that fail to provide incentives, or in fact provide disincentives, to efforts and activities that advance organizational mission and strategy. How can middle managers mitigate the undesirable effects of these kinds of misalignments?
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