How would you describe the leadership styles of John and Shawn?

Part I

Additional Information: Today, you and Shawn Williams, the new Director of Global Human Capital Management at Atlantis Global Corporation (AGC), met with John Dawson, the company’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Chief Operations Officer (COO), and Chairman of the Board of Directors. This meeting provided both of you with some background about the company and touched on some of the major problems that are currently confronting it.

The meeting with John was cordial. He is obviously very concerned about the financial losses that AGC continues to experience. You note that John’s main concerns seem to center around global competition and the very real threat of losing AGC’s market lead as the top manufacturer of electronic circuit boards for high-definition television screens.

Both you and Shawn are surprised, however, that John never mentions any issues relating to the employees who work at AGC. Earlier in the month, the president of one of the global subsidiaries told Shawn that it is difficult to recruit talent for AGC. He also told Shawn that employees are not happy and continue to leave the organization to work for other organizations in their various industrial park locations. Competition for talent is high.

When Shawn speaks about human capital concerns at AGC, John is not very interested; seemingly, John knows little about this area of business. In addition, John thinks these employee-related issues do not have much to do with the organization’s problems. Shawn is surprised by his dismissive attitude about the employees of this multinational organization, and he is worried about the alignment of joint objectives. After the meeting, you and Shawn get together in his office to share observations.

“I’m worried about John’s lack of knowledge about how to manage his employees at AGC,” you say.

“Yes, it looks like John’s disregard for the people issues at the company may be a major problem in itself,” says Shawn. “People management must be treated as a high-level strategic matter.”

“Right,” you say. “He doesn’t seem to understand that human capital has economic value and that other organizational changes will not occur if the people aren’t managed properly.”

“Ultimately, the bottom line is affected,” says Shawn. “I have another meeting to go to now. Let’s wait until tomorrow to talk about next steps. Does that work for you?”

“That sounds good to me,” you say. During your drive home, you think about the meeting and think about the difficult job that lies ahead. You know that it will be challenging to work with John to implement the organizational changes that are necessary to build greater global strength without changes in the management of global human capital. Later that evening, you sit down at your computer to make notes about the following questions:

  • How would you describe the leadership styles of John and Shawn?
  • Why would you think that conflict may occur because of these style differences?
  • What are the pros and cons associated with these styles?

Part II

You and Shawn are scheduled to meet next week with John and the board of directors at AGC. Shawn will make a presentation about human capital management. Both of you understand the urgency of the company’s situation and why it is important to instruct this group about the value and need for an optimized program for the management of global human capital. You run into each other as you arrive at the office this morning and stop for a minute to talk.

“Shawn, I think your presentation will be a learning opportunity for this group,” you say. “Without this information about global human capital management, AGC may never be able to move forward with critically needed changes.”

“I agree,” he says. “I’m working on my notes, and I want your advice about some concerns I have.”

“Sure,” you say. “Why don’t you e-mail me the list and I’ll get back to you with my suggestions.”

“Sounds good,” he says. Later that morning, you get his e-mail, and the following list of questions:

  • How should I approach the board?
  • How should I deliver my message without embarrassing the board about its lack of knowledge about human capital management?
  • What can I say to illustrate the intrinsic value of human capital?
  • What examples from other organizations can be provided that will strengthen the board’s knowledge of global human capital trends and problems?
  • Do you think that my leadership style will help me during this meeting?
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