By Dr. Martin M. Lwanga
Sheila Mungai was a tall brown skinned self confident Senior Lecturer in management who had grown up in a family of six as the eldest child. Her father had died when she was only ten leaving her in a position where she had to take over the leadership of her household as her mother was a simple peasant housewife.
With determination and sheer will she raised her fees and those of her siblings through odd jobs at a nearby Catholic mission hospital. After graduating with a BBA she joined Shell Company where after pursuing an MBA she quit to join the teaching staff of her home area University.
In joining the University Sheila found other established staff leading diverse areas. However, she felt with her background in the corporate world she had more experience in management than them. Now, one of the ways the Faculty of management was meant to achieve its objectives was through team work. Departmental meetings were regular to see that all staff agreed on the same objectives and responsibilities were shared equally.
Sheila did not warm up to these values. In her second departmental meeting she brushed aside a suggestion by an older staff member to launch a course in marketing. “In my view we should be launching a Diploma course in Accountancy and not marketing!”
When one member tried to argue that as a new member she should first seek to understand the Faculty business better Sheila shot back, “You shut up. I was talking to the head.” The meeting broke up abruptly.
In the months that followed Sheila moved ahead to write her favored program and persuaded the Head of department to let her run it without the consent of other Faculty members. Relations in the Faculty suffered as a result of that. The situation was aggravated by the fact that Sheila now talked to only those whom she felt agreed with her. Those who disagreed with her she wrote them off and ceased to relate to them altogether.
As matters deteriorated one disturbed member approached the Faculty Head to express his concern. “I think you should call a meeting and make clear that team work here is important. As far as I see everyone is now working individually. The turn up at meeting is poor. No body seems to listen to you anymore. Some say Sheila is the one now running the department. We are no longer a team.”
1. Identify the causes of the breakdown of this team?
2. What steps would you take to build it into an effective team?