The school district in which Mary Briggs is the superintendent is under siege; not from teachers,
parents, or students, but from lack of leadership. Superintendent Briggs is more worried about a
future vision than she is in solving the problems that will hopefully someday make that vision
Mary Briggs is the superintendent of schools of a city school district comprised of more
than sixty schools, including pre-kindergarten, elementary, middle, and high schools.
This is a lot of schools for only one person to oversee.
Fewer than 50 percent of the students graduate from high school, and only about 10
percent of the high school graduates are considered ready for college or employment.
The local press, many parent groups, and the office of the mayor voice frequent
complaints about the low performance of the city schools.
Some people blame the teachers and the school principals for the problems. Others blame
the parents and the neighborhood influences for the problems. Still others blame the
problems of the school district on Superintendent Briggs
When Superintendent Briggs was recently asked by a School Board Member about the
most important part of her job, she responded about visions for the future and not about
immediate problems within the district.
During the workday, school principals and vice principals often send Briggs e-mails
asking her advice for dealing with an immediate problem, but it usually takes about
twenty-four hours to receive a response.
Some principals or vice principals will attempt to get through to her on the telephone, but
it just goes to voicemail.
However, some calls get through to Superintendent Briggs’ assistant and they are told,
Sorry, Superintendent Briggs is busy creating visions today. So she cannot talk with you
unless this problem is a total emergency.
Superintendent Briggs is busy creating visions today, has become a punch line for many
jokes among principals, vice-principals, and teachers.
The Root Cause:
The root cause of the district having so many problems cannot simply be solved by a
Superintendent because it takes everyone including parents, teachers, and principals working
together to get the job done. However, having a Superintendent that is so obviously unconnected
with the problems of her principals and schools is the main issue. Principals are in charge of
their schools but need a leader to be able to count on and Superintendent Briggs has very much
let them down in the leadership department. She is only worried about future visions for the
district and has overlooked that to achieve these visions, immediate problems have to be fixed
First of all, the Superintendent needs to remember that the School Board are ultimately her boss
and she has to answer to them. There needs to be a serious “Come to Jesus” meeting between
the President and Vice President of the School Board with Superintendent Briggs. They need to
make her understand that to achieve her visions for the district that immediate problems have to
be taken care of first. The views of the principals of the district need to be discussed so that she
gets the entire picture of the district. It seems like Superintendent Briggs has almost lost her hold
on reality with where the district actually is compared to what she believes it to be. This is
where the School Board needs to make her see. If this doesn’t work, then another
Superintendent search needs to begin. Superintendent Briggs may be the boss of the school
district, but her ultimate boss is the School Board and she answers to them.
When a district has a poor superintendent, it doesn’t mean that all schools will fail. The
leadership of the principal at each school is the ultimate tell-tell in how a school performs. If a
principal backs his/her teachers, is able to deal with parent concerns, and is able to stand alone
without backing from the superintendent, then that school will succeed. A strong principal that
is able to hire strong teachers, and knows exactly what is going on in his/her school, is a MAJOR
asset. That is one advantage when there is a poor superintendent in charge of a district.
The disadvantages of having a superintendent with poor leadership abilities is that the principals
of the different schools are not able to work together. They must become their own island in
order to survive in an educational world. Although some principals in a district will be strong
leaders, all leaders need support. When that support breaks down then the entire district will
eventually as well. A Superintendent that will not listen to his/her own principals when they are
pleading for help is definitely no leader. An agenda is nice to have in a perfect world, but
education is about children and in that capacity, there is no perfect world. A superintendent
needs to be able to see this and be willing to work with whomever needs it as well as be able to
solve immediate issues when they arise. This is not happening with Superintendent Briggs.
I would suggest the following:
1. There needs to be a serious “Come to Jesus” meeting between the President and Vice
President of the School Board with Superintendent Briggs. They need to make her
understand that to achieve her visions for the district that immediate problems have to be
taken care of first. The views of the principals of the district need to be discussed so that
she gets the entire picture of the district.
2. If this doesn’t work, then another Superintendent search needs to begin. Superintendent
Briggs may be the boss of the school district, but her ultimate boss is the School Board
and she answers to them.
1. As a strategic leader, what error might Mary Briggs be making?
Clear and simple not listening to both her employees and her bosses. While having vision for the
future is an important trait of leadership it is only one piece of the leadership pie. Superintendent
Briggs must be able to develop more of a multi-level and strategic leadership plan to solve ALL
problems within the district, both for the future as well as for the moment at hand to be
successful. If she cannot develop solutions for both aspects of the issues within her district then
she should hire an assistant to help work within the areas she fails or dislikes. One should
ALWAYS hire their weaknesses in business and clearly Superintendent Briggs has some
weaknesses. DuBrin (2016) explains knowledge management as where one deals with cultural
focus and managing the knowledge. While Briggs seems to be strong in developing the
knowledge she is lost in the dissemination as well as the application of this knowledge.
2. To what extent should a school superintendent be spending more time on strategy
than optional problems?
Each leader will have they’re on balance of strengths and weaknesses. Mundia (2016) explains
how more of the most important aspects of leadership is to define a clear and precise strategic
plan for the future. Clearly Superintendent Briggs enjoys strategic planning, which is great, but
not the application part. She should either find a balance between future vision and supporting
the current staff or hire someone who can assist her. As stated above the Superintendent should
show strong support to their principals and general staff within the district, without this
leadership schools will work independent of each other and not as a group. While one school
might succeed others would fail, leading to the ultimate failure of the district. A strong
superintendent allows for all moving parts of the district to work fluidly and smoothly together,
then and only then will success be reached. While planning is a wonderful thing, paying
attention to the current issues is just as wonderful. Neglecting one of these issues will cause
ripples within the ranks which by default will cause the collapse of the system.
3. What advice might you offer Briggs to enhance her leadership image in her school
Hire her weaknesses! Find people to solve for the problems she either cannot figure out a
solution or dislikes the overall subject. Delegate more effectively. Explain to the school board
her issues, but bring a solution to the issues at the same time. Develop positive solution for both
future and current issues with solid and experienced methods which the School Board and
employees would both support and understand. Develop a better communication chain between
both the school board as well as the principals and employees and work on having a better public
image within the district. Explain what vision for the future can do for the district as well as
solving the issues at hand.
DuBrin, A. J. (2016). The nature and importance of leadership. Leadership and Management in
Criminal Justice (Custom Version 2e ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.
Mundia, L., Shahrill, M., Jaidin, J. H., Jawawi, R., & Mahadi, M. A. (2016). Brunei's teacher
education programs: insights into students' coping and help-seeking strategies to
challenges. International Journal Of Mental Health Systems, 101-11. doi:10.1186/s13033-0160091-5
Post your Leadership Case Problem answers to both case studies to the Discussion Board. Follow the
Case Study Format that is provided to you in this module. You should fully analyze the case studies by
first identifying the key issues and likely root causes before you attempt to answer the questions in the
textbook associated with each case study. The length of your post should range between 500 words
minimum and 1,500 words maximum.
100 word response and post 1-6
Calvin works for a global insurance company as the director of disaster insurance. Calvin
oversees a New York department and ten different representatives around the world. He
is having problems getting his team around the globe to sale disaster insurance.
The ten different sales representatives are responsible for making sales for disaster
insurance (DuBrin, 2016).
In Europe, clients are least likely to buy disaster insurance.
The Root Cause
Dealing with multiple representatives that are spread out around the world, can cause
problems. The team members do not report to Calvin. Those who sell the insurance do
not communicate to the team members that Calvin oversees (DuBrin, 2016).
Calvin can set up face to face meetings and travel to their region. These face to face
meeting can help him get his team back on track.
Calvin is trying hard to be a great leader to his team. He is trying to reach everyone
through emails, videoconference, and phone calls. He has some team members that are
also trying their best to provide the information Calvin need.
Calvin is having a lack of communication between him and his team. There is a lack of
emails that address the concerns the teams are facing. Due to the different time
differences, there is a problem with holding a videoconference.
Technology can be used to keep track of the employee’s progress (DuBrin, p. 290). He
can be successful by having a yearly face to face meetings (DuBrin, p. 290). He can also
have virtual meetings for those who are in the same time zone.
Identify the teamwork problems you think Calvin might be facing.
Calvin seems to be facing difficulties with communication and organization. His team is
not giving him updates or reports of their progress. The employees that sell the
insurance doesn’t report to Calvin and his teams. This leads to a lack of reports for their
sales. It appears that his team lacks the enthusiasm to sell disaster insurance. Lack of
disasters in specific regions or areas leads to a lack of potential buyers. This will make
the team member feel as if there isn’t a point to work on selling insurance. He is having a
hard time organizing team meetings that everyone can attend.
What steps do you recommend Calvin take to enhance teamwork in his global
disaster insurance team?
Calvin can utilize practicing E-leadership to enhance teamwork in his global disaster
insurance team. According to DuBrin (2016), E-leadership allows for work to be
mediated by information technology. E-leadership can help connect Calvin and his team
through the internet. He can start open a chat room for the team to improve with
communication (DuBrin, p. 288). By Calvin keeping connected with his team
electronically can help empower the team. He needs to speak to his team about the
importance in disaster insurance (DuBrin, p. 289). Calvin has a real hurdle try to figure
out how to create a meeting that everyone can join. The best way may be through some
form of chat. Where Calvin start it off, and the rest join in and chime in at a reasonable
time that doesn’t inconvenience anyone. Each person will have a chance to attend with a
chat form. Once Calvin and his team come up with an appropriate time they can start
virtual meetings. They will not have to leave the comfort of their home to attend these
virtual meetings. These meetings could help boost company morale.
What might Calvin do to provide stronger leadership to his global team?
There are some things that Calvin can do to provide stronger leadership to his global
team. Goals that will automatically be reported can be set for his global team. Goals can
help make sure they meet certain standards. This can also help them keep in contact
with Calvin. The goals can make his team members feel as if they have value. Reaching
out to them each individually and can prepare for stronger leadership. E-leadership can
help his virtual team to be stronger. Placing someone as their onsite boss can help with
morale. An onsite boss can help make his leadership stronger. The onsite boss can
provide Calvin with the reports he is lacking. The onsite boss could have a meeting with
Calvin. When Calvin can’t meet with the global team members, the onsite boss can
conduct the meeting. This information can be then reported to Calvin.
DuBrin, A.J. (2016). Leadership: Research findings, practices, and skills (8th ed.). Boston,
MA: Cengage Learning.
Glennda McNeil posted Feb 7, 2019 4:20 PM
Ashley worked for a company that tried to boost sales and cut customer complaints by
changing from a department lead company to a team-lead one. Not everyone that was
within each of the former departments is thrilled about the responsibility that they will
have once the teams begin.
Though company is already profitable, they wanted to increase sales.
The company received too many criticisms about poor service.
The company also received criticism about the time it required to process a claim.
Sales representatives also contended that the underwriting department took too long to
approve and issue policies
The Root Cause:
Is that the purpose for forming teams was to improve customer service. But not all
employees were on board with the company decision. And so, they refused to conform to
the team mentality, and though positioned as a team lead by Ashley. They continued to
work as they always had as individuals within a department.
Ashley needs to know how to lead each member with a different leadership style. This
because the leader needs to have a good relationship with each member of her team.
Ashley needs to find a way to show employees that because they had more power to
make crucial decisions for customers, that they could help make the customers happier,
because they would not have to wait as long for their decisions.
If Ashley finds a way to empower her team to work as a team, they too could help
improve company morale.
Ashley’s team would help make the company progress more by working as a team. As a
team, they could produce more progress and less customer complaints due to slow
customer claim settlements. Ashley needs to make sure that her team remains a team
and continues to learn more about their team members and what they can do as a team
and move onward and forward.
Ashley’s whole team including her, could be replaced with others that would work as a
team and help bring the company to another level, which is why the company changed
from departments to teams in the first place.
The company would continue to be run at a loss with other teams as leaders and Ashley’s
team at a default.
I would suggest the following:
1. That Ashley finds a way to motivate her team members to work together as a team and
not as the individual members they were in their departments.
2. For Ashley to find ways to show her team members how much better working as a team
would be to everyone in the company, not only her team.
3. Ashley only has two months in order to show that her team is just as good as any other
team. Ashley must find a way to make her a team that everyone wants to be on.
1. How can Ashley be a more effective team leader?
Ashley must learn to build trust within her team, and begin trying to inspire
teamwork. Ashley must then begin to create a team identity, including coaching team
members toward higher levels of performance, even to the point of being a highperforming transformational team (that would bring about major constructive
changes) and most of all encourage her team members to eliminate low-value work.
1. What can Ashley do to get her team more interested in functioning as a team?
Define the team’s mission, establish a climate of trust, develop group emotional
intelligence, develop a norm of teamwork, based on cooperation therapy,
emphasizing pride in being outstanding, serve as a model of teamwork, including
power sharing, use a consensus leadership style, establish urgency, demanding
performance standards and provide direction, encourage competition with another
group, engage in ample interaction with her team, minimize micromanagement and
practice e-leadership for virtual teams.
1. Based on whatever information you have found in the case, what is your
evaluation of Ashley’s charisma?
Truthfully, I find Ashley’s charisma as non-existent. When she was asked why the
company decided to go with teams, instead of encouraging her team members to feel
better and not as confused about her job. Ashley chose to put it on the company
stating “...just to go along with it and the team idea for now.” Which probably
defeated the little self-esteem that she had, because she stated that, “..she was now
confused about how and what she was supposed to do.” That was a perfect
opportunity for Ashley to undergird her team member and encourage her why it was
a good thing for her to embrace being a member of Ashley’s team.
DuBrin, A. J. (2016). Leadership: Research findings, practice, and skills (8th ed.). Boston,
USA, Cengage Learning.
Alexandra Devries posted Feb 7, 2019 6:15 PM
Calvin, director of disaster insurance at a global insurance company, is
having difficulty leading representatives from around the world. Different
countries require different types of disaster insurance depending on their
climate. It is also difficult to have team meetings because of everyone
being in different time zones.
Calvin manages a large department in New York while also leading 10
representatives around the world.
These representatives are responsible for making sure sales people are
selling enough insurance policies. The sales reps talk to their
representative who then facilitates the message to Calvin’s team.
Some sales reps are complaining that they are not selling certain
insurance types because they do not have certain disasters in their area.
Calvin is not able to have a team meeting because there are people who
live in different time zones which is difficult to fi ...
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