Office Space

In applying the Hershey and Blanchard model it is seen that Lumberg uses a telling relationship with his employees. A telling relationship is one in which the supervisor would give specific task directions and closely supervise the work of his employees. This kind of relationship is one of high-task (guidance) and low relationship (support). People using this style believe that their employees are unable and unwilling to perform tasks given to them.

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This kind of relationship can first of all be seen in how Lumberg criticizes everything any of his subordinates do wrong. When Peter forgets to put a cover letter on his TPS reports Lumberg tells him what he has done wrong on a couple of occasions while hovering over his desk. The low level of relationship can be seen in that he does not listen to what Peter has to say about the situation but just goes on telling him about his mistake and how he can correct that. This also shows that he believes that Peter does not know how to do his job.

The telling relationship Lumberg has with his employees can also be seen in that he does not take their suggestions or ask for them for that matter. Instead, Lumberg just gives orders and expects them to be followed. Thus, he is giving guidance to people instead of getting their input on anything. In most cases, these Peter, Michael and Samir do not need his guidance because they understand their job and would feel more comfortable if they were just left alone to do it.

Finally, Lumberg does not support his employees but just heavily supervises them. When Peter needs a break and decides to stay home on a Saturday Lumberg just keeps calling him to tell him to come to work. Peter is not given the power to make decisions on his own but is just constantly supervised. This can also be seen in how Lumberg is always watching his subordinates, criticizing them and asking questions about how their work is coming.

Obviously, the telling style of leadership used by Lumberg was not appropriate. Peter, Michael and Samir are employees that are very qualified and who need very little guidance. They are also employees who, in their minds, have the ability to do things with very little supervision. Thus, Lumberg should have chosen more of a delegating leadership style than he did. This kind of style allows the group to make and take responsibility for task decisions. After being told what to do they can do it on their own without much supervision or support. They are all able, willing and confident employees who, if they didn’t feel like they were always being watched, would probably enjoy their job more and thus be more productive and do better work.

There other styles Lumberg could choose as well that may help or not as well. One of them is a participating leadership style. In this style, shared ideas and participative decisions on task directions are emphasized. This is a low task and high relationship leadership style which means that there is not a lot of guidance required but there is a high level of support needed. The other leadership style is the called selling. A selling leadership style means explaining task directions in a supportive and persuasive way. A selling leadership style is high task and high relationship meaning there is a high level of guidance and support.

In conclusion, Lumberg used a telling leadership style with his subordinates when he should have used something more like the delegating style. This hands-off approach would allow employees to be more confident and do a better job. It would also help in his employees not resenting him so much because of his constant supervision.