Medical One was among the largest multispecialty healthcare providers in the United States. It was comprised of several regional clinics in seven states with 13,000 employees. This medical facility was facing a big financial crisis. Its cost overruns, as well as bad planning, led the company under a big debt. Given the economic situation and debt that Medical One had fallen into, Healthcare Plus, a smaller company with only 4,600 employees acquired it. The merger between Medical One and Healthcare Plus had some benefits but also accompanied by some risks. Medical One employees showed some resentment due to the acquisition by a smaller company. Medical One was focused on high-quality healthcare, while Healthcare Plus was centered on cost-cutting (Individual Assignment, p.1). As a result, most Medical One employees viewed that lower costs will lead to lower-quality health care.
Colleen, as the Regional Director of Nursing Efficiency, was not impressed with the manner the management had opted to restructure the two companies after the merger. The top management tried to optimize out of service focus of Medicare One and efficiency and cost management of Healthcare Plus. Colleen decided to hold a meeting and invited fourteen managers from both Medical One and Healthcare Plus, who turned up for the meeting in time. At first, Colleen was impressed by how the manager from the two companies interacted and got to know each other. Unfortunately, while some managers were very excited to work together, some were reluctant. Colleen informed the managers that they would like to make changes in their management (Individual Assignment, p.1). She suggested that Medical One can try to adopt cost-saving in their operations. Some of the managers, mostly those form Medical One openly rejected her suggestion. They said this was impossible since Medical One has always been centered on quality care.
On the other hand, some managers, especially those from Healthcare Plus, supported her suggestion. This topic created a long division, as Healthcare Plus managers insisted and provided evidence that this had worked out for them while Medical One managers formed ranks insisting that this cannot happen (Individual Assignment, p.2). This divisiveness increased to a point whereby it resulted in an “us vs. them.” At the end of it, the managers departed without having an agreement but with more divisiveness and hostility against one another. Therefore, Colleen is faced with doubts about whether she can effectively do her job effective under such a hostile environment.
The common objectives for the fourteen managers and Colleen include:
- To collaboratively work with other managers
- To be a problem-solver.
- Encourage and embrace teamwork and ensure effective team planning
- To reveal hidden agendas and build trust
- Roleplay in respective areas of duty
- To explore the dynamics of change
- To learn and exercise group skills
- To be flexible in comparing and negotiation styles
- To ensure high-quality health care is provided
To achieve these common objectives, Colleen has to apply the team and group knowledge in order to overcome the ‘us vs. them mentality’ among the managers. As the leader whom these managers report to. All managers need to work together as a team to achieve common objectives. Therefore, Colleen has to push for the team to be effective and do away with the divisiveness among them. To achieve this, Colleen has to first begin by setting a common plan and purpose. Before working as a team, the manager needs to know the purpose of the team, which will encourage them to work collaboratively (Robbins et al., 2016, p. 220). This can be achieved by analyzing the team’s mission, establishing goals to attain that mission and also create strategies to achieve the goals. Colleen’s team will be effective if only she develops a clear sense of what the managers are expected to do and how they can constantly perform better.
Colleen should go ahead and translate the team’s common purpose into specific, measurable, realistic, and challenging performance goals. In essence, Colleen should translate the team’s common purpose into its specific goal, which is to change Medical One’s focus from quality healthcare to cost-cutting (Robbins et al., 2016, p. 222). She should lay measures that will be used to measure this goal. Providing specific and realistic performance goals will neutralize the difference between the two groups of managers, energize them, enable clear communication, and also assist the team in laying their focus on the outcomes.
It is also important to establish and maintain team efficacy. Effective teams are confident in themselves and are optimistic that they can be successful. Given that the Medical One managers were pessimistic about changing the company’s focus from high-quality health care to cost-cutting, Colleen as the team leader should focus on increasing the team’s efficacy so the team members can have confidence in themselves to achieve the common objectives (Robbins et al., 2016, p. 240). Colleen can achieve this by assisting the team, especially Medical One managers, to attain small successes which build their confidence. Colleen can also provide training for the team on interpersonal skills and as well let the Healthcare Plus managers provide their evidence on how their cost-cutting focus worked out.
Given that Colleen is heading managers from two different healthcare companies, she should strive hard to establish a team identity so that she can eliminate the ‘us vs. them’ mentality among the managers. The team members should share common characteristics differentiating them from other employees in the two companies (Robbins et al., 2016, p. 243). The members should share common values which will unite them and give them a unique identity as managers belonging to one group. This identity will rubbish away the difference that has been existing between the managers and also eliminates the ‘us vs. them’ mentality.
To eliminate the divisiveness and to create understanding between the managers, Colleen as the group leader should strive to create the team cohesion. Team cohesion will help to unite the managers and collectively work together towards a common goal. It will help to avoid unhealthy competition between them that caused the ‘us vs. them’ mentality. Colleen has to make the team independent and resistant to external influences (Robbins et al., 2016, p. 267). Just as she intended to make the managers open-minded and free to come up with a concise decision, creating a team cohesion will enable Colleen to achieve her objective of making the team open-minded to solve the problem at hand effectively.
Colleen should also develop proper mental models for the team. Having a suitable mental model for the team is very important in promoting performance and understanding among team members. These mental models will help in creating positivity and improve relations among the team members (Robbins et al., 2016, p. 270). Moreover, these models help in avoiding conflicts and instead of directing team members to keep their focus on what should be done. In light of this, the ‘us vs. them’ mentality will be eradicated and instead focus on improving performance by agreeing on implementing the cost-cutting change.
The team leader, Colleen, should also try to encourage task-based conflict in the team rather than relationship-based conflict. The conflict between Medical One managers and Healthcare Plus managers is relationship-based. Relationship-based conflict can be very detrimental to both companies, and therefore, the team leader should ensure that task-based conflict is the only experience (Robbins et al., 2016, p. 294). This is because the team will be able to discuss different views, resolve differences, and also the incorporation of multiple perspectives occurs. With this in mind, the ‘us vs. them’ mentality will be fixed, and the two sides will get along and work collaboratively.
To avoid the ‘us vs. them’ mentality, Colleen can make the team members engage in social loafing. Colleen should also make everyone accountable for performance. All members should be individually and jointly held reliable for the team. This will help in making everyone productive and geared towards performance. It will encourage collaboration and coordination between the managers.
Leadership Theories and Solutions
Transformational leadership theory
This theory was formed under four dimension, which is interconnected, including inspirational motivation, intellectual motivation, charisma, and individualized consideration. The main intention of this theory is that the leaders offer his or her team with more than work; he or she provides a sense of identity using inspirational mission in the form of influence, stimulation, and consideration (Robbins et al., 2016, p. 302). In this situation, Colleen can apply transformational leadership to lead the managers effectively. As per this theory, Colleen has first to establish a sense of identity for these managers. Being a new group of managers under her leadership, she has to create some set values and common goals which gives all the managers a sense of identity. This will make the managers have a sense of belonging together and be willing to collaborate without any resistances.
Colleen should also practice being motivational as much as possible. Especially that the managers are divided over the changes while the Medical One managers are reluctant and pessimistic about the changes to be made, Colleen should put up a spirit of motivation to motivate all the managers to be reliable, confident and flexible for the changes that are anticipated to occur. Motivation helps a lot in encouraging and creating an understanding between the two differing sides (Robbins et al., 2016, p. 307). Motivation will also help to put up a spirit of hard work among the managers to ensure that they meet their common objectives and also improve performance. Colleen also has to apply the concept of individual consideration. She should not just look at the managers as a group but instead focus more on the different managers. This consideration will enable her to listen and know the perspectives of every manager. She will also get to know the challenges or fundamental recommendations that are helpful to every health facility, respectively.
Moreover, to lift the spirit and morale of the managers to work towards achieving their common objectives, Colleen needs to be an inspiration to them (Robbins et al., 2016, p. 307). Colleen has to inspire them with positive vibes which promote a positive attitude towards change and addressing challenges. She has to encourage the group of managers that collaboration among them will enable them to thrive and meet the common objectives.
Emotional intelligence theory
The emotional intelligence theory resolves environmental problems in workplaces as well as how to identify them. Emotions are considered to be very critical to the organization’s performance as well as organizational behavior. Emotional intelligence entails aspects such as hope, stress control, impulse control, empathy, and self-motivation. An emotionally intelligent leader best uses human capital in work in progress, therefore contributing to the efficiency of operating an organization. This theory encourages motivating employees rather than giving orders to achieve a common goal. In this situation, Colleen can apply emotional intelligence theory by being motivational to the managers rather than giving orders. Since the managers are divisively providing a hostile environment to lead, Colleen should refrain from providing harsh orders (Robbins et al., 2016, p. 315). These managers need to be emotionally handled and avoid conflicting with them.
Colleen should also practice persistence to lead the managers effective regardless of the setbacks she encounters. Even though the environment is hostile and the managers are too divided, she has to remain persistent with her proposal for the changes. She does not need to give back, and if she remains persistent, she will finally manage to convince all the managers to embrace the change. Persistence will enable her to be patient and be prepared enough to formulate effective strategies to lead the managers effectively (Robbins et al., 2016, p. 321). To avoid stampeding with the other managers, Colleen has to practice self-mood regulation. Since the environment is hostile, self-mood regulation is essential to avoid conflicting with the managers. Moreover, it will help to promote the relationship between her and the managers.
The suggested recommendations can be implemented in the following procedure. Colleen should implement and encourage all managers to work towards common objectives. Then the next step involves applying the group and team knowledge to avoid the ‘us vs. them’ mentality. In the last step, Colleen needs to use the transformational leadership theory and emotional intelligence theory to lead the managers effectively.
To manage the situation at Medical One, it would be appropriate for Colleen to establish common objectives, apply group and team knowledge in order to address the issue at hand among the managers. Most importantly, she can lead the managers effectively and manage to solve the problem of change resistance by applying appropriate leadership theory.