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When Leadership Changes: A Case Study in the Transition to a New Management Style

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Abstract:

The preexisting leadership style created a number of challenges which needed to be addressed. There was no formal Vision, Mission, Code of Ethics, or policies, no specific understanding from employee about their roles and responsibilities, specific measurement criteria for the performance reviews didn't exist, there was limited goal setting provided to managers or to their reports, and there was a lack of company wide communications. Knowing that the executive management was going to change within a few years, existing managers began to lay out a framework to implement a new participative, team-style leadership format. Most importantly the managers wanted to unite the company, engage the employees, and provide a sustainable service to their customers. These managers believed that the prior leadership style was causing unnecessary challenges within the organization. Problems included: personnel decision inconsistencies which created legal liabilities and low morale, project, operations and maintenance inconsistencies, a department focus instead of a company focus, fear of management, no systematic approach to priority setting, problem solving decisions made without regard to other educated opinions and long standing problems going on with no resolution.

This case study will discuss what was done to prepare for an impending change of the guard, the transition to a new style of management after retirements, how it solved specific problems that existed due to the old management style and why, and the plan to build on the changes implemented for long term viability. The presentation will cover approximately two years prior to the retirements and two years following the retirements. The foundation laid prior to the actual change in leadership style ensured a faster, successful transition to the new management style. In our opinion, it also made the company a more attractive place to draw new talent and retain the hard earned, experienced employees.

The new leadership style creates a firm platform to expand on and includes all of the Five Keys to Management Success. The case study will discuss using the Five Keys and the Ten Attributes from a practical sense and not simply as an academic exercise. The belief now is that the new management style will continuously improve and sustain the company long term.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.2175/193864712811694578

Publication date: 2012-01-01

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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