Lisa Benton at Houseworld Harvard Case Solution & Analysis

Assessment of Linton’s leadership approach

Being viewed as a combination of personality traits such as self-confidence, concern for people, intelligence and dependability, a leadership style explains how a manager uses a combination of these with his or her subordinates. Linton’s leadership style cannot be classified as one that is strictly an example of laissez-faire or authoritarian since she displayed characteristics of both in dealing with Benton. (William Pride, 2010)

At one end Linton seems like a leader who wants to hold all authority and responsibility and wants communication to move from top to bottom with Benton expected to obey the rules (William Pride, 2010). She can be seen as an autocratic or authoritarian leader who only assigns specific tasks to Benton and does not expect her to get involved in anything further than what was assigned to her. An example of this is there in the case when Linton and Scoville did not involve her during the planning stage even though they used the analysis she had worked on for the brand.

However, during her informal lunch with Benton, Linton points out that she sees Benton as someone who lacks initiative and does not expresses her opinions. We can see another extreme form of leadership in Linton where she is portraying to be a laissez-faire leader and wants to give Benton the freedom to initiate projects herself. She expects that Benton should be assertive and should not be waiting for Linton or Scoville to guide her during the training process.

Since a distinct approach is missing in Linton’s leadership style, we can see that it lacks the discipline needed to motivate a new employee like Benton who has joined House world quite enthusiastically and has been considered as someone with remarkable skills in her previous job.

It should be noted that laissez-faire leadership style is considered one where the leader abandons the responsibility and avoids making decisions and this sort of an approach is not recommended unless the subordinate is an expert at her field or is well-motivated (Robbins, 2007). In Benton’s case, it can be seen that she has joined House world to learn marketing skills and is not an expert yet and neither is she motivated enough,which is evident by her lack of enthusiasm as noticed by her superiors. Therefore,Linton’s leadership approach is inappropriate for a new joiner like Benton who has an exceptional academic background and has the motivation and skills to develop further.

Recommendations for Linton for building an effective team

For building an effective team, Linton needs to change her leadership style and adopt a democratic style where she would hold responsibility as well but will also delegate authority to others. The communication style in this kind of leadership will be active upwards and downwards unlike what Linton is currently doing where her subordinates are feeling underutilized, and are unable to communicate openly in front of her (William Pride, 2010).

Linton must encourage employee communication as this would be needed to elevate workers from the status of just rank-and file workers and for teaching them effective decision making skills. (William Pride, 2010)

Although Linton does talk about teamwork and how important it is for the department, however she must understand that for building an effective team, she needs to increase employee involvement and empowerment. Delegation will help increase the level of motivation for team members especially for players like Benton who need encouragement to be expressive and show their creativity in branding (Bristoll, 2013).....................

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