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Bob Knowlton Case Study


Effective leadership is an important aspect to speak about the progress of modern organisations. However, there are often cases when weak leaders lose their opportunities to contribute to the organisational development in order to create the effective workplace environment and achieve set goals and objectives. Bob Knowlton was appointed to be the project head in the Si-Tech Laboratories.

Knowlton demonstrated the perfect understanding of the principles of the project development, he could work with the team to achieve the high results, and he was oriented to using the traditional methods in order to reach the set goals. From this perspective, the introduction of Jack Remington as a new leader to work in the project team made Knowlton fear about his position and leadership.

Remington demonstrated the unique approach to solving the project problems in contrast to Knowlton’s traditional approach. Being unable to compete with Remington, Knowlton chose to leave the project and his position in the Si-Tech Laboratories.

As a result, the situation revealed such a problem experienced by Knowlton as the inability to accept his weaknesses and fears and transform the leadership strategy in order to achieve the higher results while leading the team.

Key Issue or the Major Problem

Thus, the key issue associated with Knowlton’s case is his ineffective leadership which can be discussed as the leader’s inability to accept the undesirable situation, to face challenges, to work at overcoming the problem and improving the leadership style.

Knowlton did not accept the drawbacks of his leadership style which were revealed to him with references to Remington’s approach. Instead, the leader chose to hide his real attitude to Remington and his concerns associated with the newcomer’s approaches and the whole work of the team.

Sub-Issues and Problems

Knowlton chose the ineffective strategy of hiding his real concerns and fears associated with Remington’s introduction to the team. As a result, Knowlton’s behaviour resulted in revealing such additional problems as the following ones:

  1. Knowlton failed to communicate openly to Dr. Jerrold about the leader’s concerns because of the fear to demonstrate his incertitude;
  2. Knowlton focused on his fear to be discussed as a weak leader in comparison with Remington instead of addressing the issue directly;
  3. The leader was not able to set the strict rules on the behaviour at meetings, on the order of presenting the ideas, and on the procedure of discussing the changes in the project as the rules could help him to avoid night calls and ineffective discussions during the meetings;
  4. Knowlton became afraid of opposing Remington and admitted his leadership in spite of the team’s attitude and without any discussions of the issue;
  5. Knowlton chose to leave his leadership position to Remington instead of reforming work in the team and stating his leadership as the project head;
  6. The leader became involved in thinking about his fears and his leadership status in spite of communicating to the team.

Ego-Defence Mechanism

Knowlton could not cope with the challenges he faced because the leader chose to focus on such an ego-defence mechanism as regression.

Having understood that Remington demonstrates another style of leadership and this approach can seem to be effective for the team, Knowlton chose to hide his ineffectiveness as a leader and leave the position of the project head instead of facing the possible challenge openly or organising the work in order to use Remington’s potential for the benefits of the team.

Bases of Power

In spite of the fact that Knowlton could use the legitimate base of power because of his project head position and the expert power because of promoting the development of the photon correlator, the leader failed to draw upon on the referent and reward powers when Remington was introduced to the team.

Knowlton admitted that he cannot be respected in spite of the fact that he is the legitimate leader and failed to use the referent power. Furthermore, Knowlton rejected his expert power while focusing on Remington’s innovative approach to solving problems. The leader also ignored the advantages of the reward power important while working with the team.

Knowlton’s Leadership Style

Knowlton’s leadership style can be discussed as democratic at the first stages of working with the team because of the necessity to build and stabilize an effective team. Furthermore, Knowlton has the features of a supporting and delegating leader who can not only support the team members’ positions but also delegate a range of responsibilities to them.

In addition, Knowlton can be discussed as the traditional leader instead of being a transformational leader. That is why, it was rather difficult for Knowlton to accept Remington’s unique approach to discussing the problems of the project.

The Managerial Profile of Bob Knowlton

Knowlton’s strengths are the focus on the team members’ opinions and the focus on collaboration. Furthermore, Knowlton can build the effective team which can work to achieve the long-term goals. As a manager, Knowlton is interested in seeking the approval of the team members and Dr. Jerrold.

That is why, Knowlton can be oriented to achieving the results which address the whole team’s expectations. From this point, Knowlton’s leadership style and approach are effective to work at the long-term projects.

However, there are also weaknesses in Knowlton’s approach which led him to losing his status of the leader. Knowlton is characterised by the low self-esteem which makes him seek the approval of all the co-workers in spite of their status. Furthermore, Knowlton’s self-confidence is also low because the leader became to doubt about his potential after Remington had joined the team.

Knowlton depends on the opinion and respect of other persons. In addition, the leader cannot communicate openly to the team members.

To address the weaknesses, it is important to help Knowlton to understand that his appointment as the project head is not a chance, but the real appreciation of the leader’s skills and competency. Knowlton should be trained to accept the situation and its consequences without focusing on the ineffective ego-defence mechanism.

Knowlton can be discussed as a good leader to work in a small team who respects his potential and perceives him as an expert. However, Knowlton failed to use the opportunity to demonstrate his leadership potential while facing the challenge of introducing a new leadership style into the team.

Thus, Knowlton did not state his leadership position. Bing characterised by the low self-esteem, Knowlton chose to accept the development of events which was not beneficial for him. Furthermore, understanding the team’s dissatisfaction associated with Remington’s leadership style, Knowlton ignored the opportunities to change the situation for better and to state his position of the leader.

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IvyPanda. "Bob Knowlton." December 23, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/bob-knowlton/.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "Bob Knowlton." December 23, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/bob-knowlton/.

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IvyPanda. (2019) 'Bob Knowlton'. 23 December.

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