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Research lab leadership case

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    Assignment ID: FG133135430

    Research Lab Leadership Case 

    Part 1.  

    James is a doctor who is also the director of a lab studying ALS.  He has a research coordinator named Linda who is one of his best coordinators.  James wants Linda to move up the research coordinator structure to have more of a leadership role.  

    Ashley joins the team right out of university.  She is, naturally, unsure of what she is doing.  James puts her on Linda’s team with the goal of bringing Ashley up to speed then handing the coordination of the trial over to her.  Ashley quickly becomes a big help to Linda.  But that is all.  Ashley didn’t take ownership of the study.  She didn’t take on new responsibilities or begin to go beyond the boundaries of what Linda asked her to do.  After three months they seemed like a good team but then Linda went to James to express some frustration that Ashley wasn’t expanding her role. 

    Part 2. 

    James meets with Linda and hears her talking about all the things she is doing that Ashley is not taking over and it occurred to him that what makes Linda a great coordinator is that she was very detail oriented- dotted every “I” and crossed every “t” and she was experienced enough that no one could do it better or faster, including Ashley.  James then spoke to Ashley and had her walk her through the study operations.  He realized that she was doing everything that she saw as her responsibility.  She didn’t want to overstep her boundaries with Linda, and even more importantly, she didn’t know that we needed to move Linda off the project to a new role.  

    Part 3. 

    James suspected that what Ashley needed was to be delegated more opportunity.  He had a frank conversation with Ashley.  “I need you to take over everything that Linda does on your study.  She is going to continue to help you as backup, but you are going to lead it.  We will meet weekly and Linda won’t be there.  You’ll be updating me on progress and challenges.”  Ashley was thrilled! 

    I spoke to Linda separately and told her the plan to essentially remove her from the project except as back up.  Linda and James began to meet to talk about the coordinators, as a whole, and to review an overview of the projects in the lab.  She was really excited.  And that was the day that things changed.  Ashley took ownership of the study and led it.  She became an “incredibly accomplished research coordinator” and was in her role for 2½ years.  Linda went on to be a terrific manager, and she got much better at delegating albeit not perfect. 

    1. Summarize the situation in steps. 

    2. What do you think became very clear once Linda was put in a backup role? 

    3. What did James fail to recognize at the beginning? 

    4. What made this transition very simple once things became clear? 

    5. What can you take away about leadership styles, motivation, objectives etc. from this short case?  Defend your answer.

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