Eileen Nolland works for a small company that employs twelve people who all work in the same office. She is responsible for various duties ranging from answering phones and entering orders into the system to tracking inventory and updating client files. She performs many of these duties as a back-up for other colleagues. Over the years she has worked herself into a position as “the go to person” for her boss, Jack Barns. Eileen has made quite an effort to gain Jack’s confidence. She handles the sales staff commissions and employee benefits, and makes most of the purchasing decisions for the office. She is often found sitting in Jack’s office, doing her daily work and chatting with Jack about both work and personal issues.
The rest of the staff resent Eileen’s connection to Jack, the boss. Many of them feel that she gets preferential treatment. Eileen does work hard, but she also has a way of setting her own hours. She is often overheard complaining about how tired she is after having to stay late at night to fix some filing error. Jack is often the one to inform other employees that he has sent Eileen home to get some rest. He often makes comments such as, “She worked so hard last night, and she won’t be any good today. I told her to go home and sleep. Be back tomorrow and start fresh.” Eileen also makes herself out to be a hero by spending time comparison shopping for things that the office needs. She then presents the information to Jack so he can see how much money she saved the company. Jack often consults with Eileen first when a major decision affecting the entire office needs to be made. Her co-workers are rarely granted this knowledge and only see Jack consulting with Eileen. Several co-workers have talked amongst themselves wondering what Eileen says that keeps Jack asking for her input. They do not think she is more knowledgeable about the clients or company than any of them.
From Jack’s perspective, Eileen is invaluable to the team. She always has necessary data to consider, is quick to point out benefits or potential hardships to clients, and almost always presents a solution. He wishes more employees approached their work the same way Eileen does. In fact, he often wonders why there sometimes seems to be hostility directed toward Eileen.
Answer the following questions by applying the concepts learned in Chapter 5. Also, conduct literature reviews on the subject of discussion and use to support your case study answers:
How could Jack’s perception of Eileen’s performance affect his leader behaviors when interacting with her?
How could her co-worker’s perception of Jack’s leader behaviors toward Eileen affect their own performance?