Introduction The Worst Part Was That She Was Often Right

This article will respond to the leadership style change case study titled The Worst Part Was That She Was Often Right which told about leadership styles and dissatisfied employees. Dissatisfied employees may become an intricate and delicate issue to deal with. When a junior employee got a promotion and the senior one did not, questions may arise as to why. If the question is not adequately answered, the senior employee may become greatly dissatisfied.

This is what happened to Beverly Beutell when her senior co-worker, Wanda Vaughn, who was newly promoted, picked a junior employee as assistant manager, instead of her. Since Wanda did not address the issue sufficiently, reactionary issues arise from Beverly due to her dissatisfaction. This paper will examine this case study from a leadership style point of view to recommend a more suitable leadership style for Wanda and strategies to achieve more positive outcomes from the situation.

Leadership Style Being Demonstrated in the Case Study

In this case, Wanda tried to practice a participative leadership style. She was able to develop a close working relationship with all her four representatives, with Beverly as the new exception. Before Wanda get the promotion, she was a close friend of Beverly. Their relationship suffered when Wanda chose a junior employee as the assistant manager for the department, instead of Beverly who was the only senior staff at the department. Wanda missed her participative aspect in dealing with Beverly’s disappointment and choose to not give her any explanation about her choice of assistant manager position, hoping that she would understand. However, Beverly’s attitude seemed to become more and more bitter as the team progresses.

As a participative leader, Wanda develops team meetings not only to provide direction but also to hear her employees’ opinions, including Beverly’s. Despite Beverly’s idea presentation which tends to be rude and belligerent, Wanda still understood the point and was willing to make rational changes. However, Beverly’s attitude should be addressed because it can be harmful to the team’s morale and overall teamwork. Her attitude can escalate to another conflict that can endanger the entire department. To better address this issue, Wanda may want to alter her leadership style.

More Suitable Leadership Style to Address the Issue

Wanda should acknowledge that Beverly’s dissatisfaction was the root cause of her difficult attitude toward the team. She should address this issue proactively. She may want to alter her leadership style to suit the situation using situational leadership. Situational leadership is developed upon three foundations: situational factors that are not under the leaders’ control will affect organizational effectiveness, it will affect leaders’ behaviors, and it will affect the consequences of leaders’ behavior (Vroom & Jago, 2007). Wanda’s behavior to let Beverly be can be considered negligent to the important situational factors. Sooner or later, it can escalate to a bigger issue that can harm the department’s performance.

Beverly’s belligerent nature is not under her control. Wanda should shift her leadership style to better suit the situation. A study has found that situational leadership styles significantly contribute to effective conflict management (Oyelude & Fadun, 2018). This leadership style will provide a better guide for leaders in determining the cause of conflict and looking into the best approach to be employed based on the current situation. One of the most comprehensive situational leadership models is the Situational Leadership® II (SLII) model, proposed by Blanchard et al. (2013). It uses four leadership styles based on the level of the directive and supportive behavior:

  1. Delegating (low in the directive and supportive),
  2. Supporting (low in the directive, high in supportive),
  3. Coaching (high in the directive and supportive), and
  4. Directing (high in the directive, low in supportive).

The fact that Beverly still did a good job in her role as a senior staff as well as her challenging nature is proof that she must not be confronted using high directive approaches. Instead, Wanda should use a more supportive approach. The best support that Wanda can give is to give Beverly the respectful talk she deserves about her development and career progression plan. Wanda should think about the right career path for Beverly, in addition, to giving her solid reasoning about the assistant manager’s choice. Wanda can also talk to human resource specialists to lay out a clear career path for Beverly as a senior staff.

Also read about: Leaders: Born or Made?

Leadership Change Strategies to Achieve More Positive Outcomes

Knight (2018) laid out two strategies that can be used by the supervisor to deal with an employee that did not get a promotion: the first is to be transparent, honest, and direct with the employee, and the second is to schedule a special meeting to discuss the employee’s development and career progression. Wanda can utilize both of these practical strategies. Aside from being direct and honest, it is also important for Wanda to show compassion, mindfulness, and respect, so as not to further hurt Beverly’s self-esteem. It is also important not to over-promise.

Wanda should acknowledge and validate Beverly’s good work and important critics. She should show a supportive approach, instead of a directive approach. She can support her by giving her a clear career progression plan, which can be consulted with the human resource department prior to the special meeting. In such personality conflict, it is important to emphasize problem-solving and common objectives rather than blaming her personality as the main issue (Kinicki & Fugate, 2017).

If this strategy does not work and Beverly still shows a belligerent attitude toward the team, then Wanda can consult with the human resource specialist to better deal with the issue. She must be honest and straightforward in her presentation of the issue. The department may give Beverly another position that is better for her traits or give her a better approach under the company’s policy.

Conclusion The Worst Part Was That She Was Often Right

It is not as the case study title suggests that the worst part was that she was often right. Wanda tried to practice participative leadership by listening more to her employees. However, she failed to address Beverly’s dissatisfaction. To address this issue, she may want to utilize situational leadership and choose a better leadership style that is more suitable to the situation. She may choose a supportive style by giving her fewer directive approaches and using a more supportive approach. The strategy that can be used is to give Beverly a respectful and honest talk about the issue and provide her with a clear career progression plan. The plan must be consulted with the human resource department before the meeting to avoid giving empty promises that can further escalate the conflict.


Blanchard, K., Zigarmi, P., & Zigarmi, D. (2013). Leadership and the One Minute Manager Updated Ed: Increasing Effectiveness Through Situational Leadership® II. William Morrow.

Kinicki, A., & Fugate, M. (2017). Loose Leaf for Organizational Behavior: A Practical, Problem-Solving Approach (2nd ed.). McGraw-Hill Education.

Knight, R. (2018, April 10). How to Tell an Employee They Didn’t Get a Promotion. Harvard Business Review.

Oyelude, O. O., & Fadun, T. A. (2018). Situational Leadership Style in Managing Conflicts in an Organization: A Case of Nigerian Eagle Flour Mill. International Journal of Social Sciences and Management Research, 4(1), 44-50.

Vroom, V. H., & Jago, A. G. (2007). The Role of the Situation in Leadership. American Psychologist, 62(1), 17–24.

Case Study: The Worst Part Was That She Was Often Right in Fifty Case Studies and Supervisory Training

Read more about Leading in Today’s Dynamic Context

One Comment

  1. Pingback: Atlantic Waterfowl Celebration Case Study Review - BR&SE

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *