Critical Thinking and Case Study

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Critical Thinking and Case Study

Section 1: Critical Thinking

Moments of Greatness: Entering the Fundamental State of Leadership

Leaders draw on their own capabilities and values to their best in the workplace. Leaders who achieve their best rarely copy anyone. All people aspire to become leaders; this motivates them to attend corporate training programs on leadership to understand the behaviors of successful leaders in order to emulate them (Robert, 2005). The question about whether entering the fundamental state of leadership without crisis or not is brought to discussion in this article. All people have the potential of becoming effective leaders through a deliberate choice of entering the fundamental state of leadership rather than waiting for crisis to force them there. ORDER YOUR PAPER NOW

Fundamental state of Leadership Explained

Although we admire natural leadership skills by CEOs, prime ministers and presidents; they do not operate in the fundamental state of leadership. Most leaders rely on rational reasoning and the exercise of authority to bring change.

There is normal, and there is fundamental as far as leadership is concerned. Elevating other people’s performances requires individual elevation into a fundamental state of leadership. For a leader to achieve this, a shift along four dimensions is required. First and foremost, we must transition from being comfort centered to being results centered. Second, being internally directed other than being externally directed (Robert, 2005). Leaders need to conform to the present work culture other than complying with personnel’s expectations. Confident and more authentic leaders attract other people to emulate them hence improving their performance. Third, becoming more focused on other people and less self-focused. Good leaders value organizational needs more than their individual goals. Sometimes, focusing on self needs establishes isolation feelings within the workplace. Putting collective good first attracts other people to gain respect and trust to such leaders. As a result, empathy increases hence advancing cohesion. Fourth, leaders get open to outside stimuli. Normally, leaders pay attention to relevant signals that require prompt response in the event incremental adjustments are suggested. The fundamental state of leadership allows leaders to be updated of what is unfolding as well as generating new solutions all the time (Robert, 2005). Leaders remain credible, adaptive, and unique in their behavior and decisions.

Preparing for Fundamental State

Most people consider entering the fundamental state of leadership since they cannot leave their comfort zones unless forced. To the new leaders in the concept of “Fundamental State,” two preliminary steps have to be taken by them in order to understand and employ the concept.

  1. Recognizing that you have previously entered the fundamental state of leadership: In everyone’s life as a professional leader, they must have been faced by several demanding experiences whose resolution required intelligence, integrity, adaptability, and trust. Leaders need to show courage is exhibiting their vulnerability in order to get the right assistance(Robert, 2005). Interaction of leaders in workshops enable them to recount their experiences through which they gain a realization that in their leadership experience, they have become purposive, responsive, and compassionate.
  2. Analyzing one’s current state: Analysis of a leaders’ own current state helps them find out whether they are in a fundamental state of leadership or not. Being in the fundamental state requires a leader to have several positive attributes of self-empowerment, creative thinking, clarity of vision, and empathy. Constant comparisons between one’s normal performances with what he/she has done in the past equip them with the desire to elevate/grow what is already known(Robert, 2005). The realization that that one operates at higher level instils confidence to leaders.

Having understood what Fundamental state of leadership entails, Robert E. Quinn article highlights that asking transformative questions guide leaders in forming fundamental state leadership behavior and characteristics. Management skills and leadership abilities differ among leaders. Sometimes, things fail to work as planned and this calls for the application of a positive change threshold. These questions help guide leaders in driving a positive change;

Am I results centered?

Most leaders are comfort centered and keep practicing their routine functions in the manner that they know. Achieving new results needs people to stop being in comfort zones. Advocating for ambitious outcomes helps leaders enhance maximum administrative convenience while helps in avoiding conflicts hence increasing productivity (Robert, 2005). Leaders need to recognize crisis and move towards resolving them in a more proactive, optimistic, persistent, and invest way.

Am I Internally directed?

Normally, people comply with social demands to avoid crisis and enhance connectedness with coworkers. Political compromise makes leaders lose integrity and uniqueness. Being partially focused on one’s future reward derails performance. For example, in the case of John, he was not fully focused to hard work and so he failed to seek enough cooperation from the team he lead. Getting more from a team requires the team leader to ne more internally directed.

Am I other focused?

Most people value their needs above those of the others and this is unhealthy when it comes to leadership. When self-interest prevails in our relationships, other people’s trust on us gets eroded. Leaders need to get more focused to other people’s interests in organizations to boost performance. In John’s case, he shifted his focus into fundamental state of leadership by committing himself to uncertain future. Valuing other people’s affairs enables leaders gain respect and trust from the team.

Am I externally open?

Focus on external stimuli benefits leaders by keeping them on track record. Also, this allows people to ignore internal signals that call for change.  Crisis offer perfect opportunities in which leaders awake to explore the importance of emotional capacity and knowledge in truly leading people. Maintaining focus on external stimuli enables leaders learn from the environment and recognized needs that requires change.


Fundamental state of leadership can be applied at both the professional and personal life levels. It helps leaders inspire teams to high performance and tackle challenges confidently and uniquely in different ways. The article discussed the concept of management as an art. Robert E. Quinn emphasizes on the application of knowledge and skills in order to achieve the desired results by leaders. In his article, Robert states that balancing effective leadership qualities and behavior enables a team emulate and learn from such leaders hence improve productivity. Further, drawing on fundamental values and capabilities enable leaders to become competitive and resolve the existing crisis. The author advocates for integrity, authenticity, and confidentiality from leaders and this is an art. Robert is against application of theories and copying of other when managing a team, he calls for creativity by leaders in order to transition for the less valid and outdated fundamentals of leadership. In my opinion, autocratic leadership styles most suitable for the Saudi culture. This is because Robert E Quinn emphasizes that best leaders do not copy anyone in doing their work, they only draw on their own values and capabilities. The Saudi culture requires a leadership style that allows managers to singly form decisions without other people’s input. Autocracy benefits the team members who require close supervision, and this is the case for Saudi. Additionally, creative personnel thrive in this form of leadership. ORDER YOUR PAPER NOW

Section 2: Case Study- Self-Directed Work Team

 Question 1

As a service organization, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is devoted to offering high quality customer services. However, as a government agency, IRS needs to rely on groups’ productivity to achieve the set goals of the organization as a whole. Benefits of group productivity to IRS include:

Improves communication effectiveness: The devolvement of teams into small groups enables members to develop a mutual acceptance, trust, and ability to communicate and make decisions together. Group productivity enhances IRS’s dynamics of communication.

Service improvement: IRS benefits from operating in small productive groups in that the quality of service to customers gets improved. High quality service provision by groups in IRS is facilitated by the members’ ability to decide that services get improved through establishing a time schedule through which high volume of taxpayers get served.

Encourages creativity and innovation: Productivity groups establish a conducive environment through which IRS employees gain creativity skills to improve customer service quality. For instance, at IRS one group innovated an automatic database program that helped them and other groups in identifying taxpayers who are liable for federal taxes so that state benefits could be withheld.

Enhances employee development: IRS ensured that all groups underwent various stages of skills development. Completing special training programs on small group dynamics benefits IRS in that all teams have the right skills required for the tax collection job. After the training programs, team members create their own paths of skills development which they apply in their jobs at IRS hence embracing quality.

Helps in minimizing costs: The use of small groups help the IRS collect maximum tax revenues and at the most minimal costs possible. Trained teams do fewer mistakes and are always driven by continuous improvement in service. Therefore, the government benefits from using groups in that it incurs the least cost in tax revenue collection.

Question 2

Rigid structure and close monitoring of groups did not inhibit their development. The main reasons for this opinion include:

Consensus was encouraged: Although consensus was not a priority, close monitoring of groups gave them the right to use structured decision making. I understand that using a structured decision making mechanism allows the team to share ideas, thoughts, and opinions regarding their roles of tax collection or criminal investigation. Therefore, the group should have used this opportunity to further their development.

Close monitoring leads to quality improvement: Close monitoring aimed at improving group performance and customer service quality. I believe that IRS idea of close monitoring was to conform in its strategic business objective. Given consensus was not a priority, close monitoring cannot be attributed to failed group development.

IRS facilitated training programs to develop the groups: The fact that the monitoring structure was rigid; IRS took all groups through stages of skills development such training. Lack of development on the part of the groups cannot be attributed to this rigidity since opportunities for skills development were offered by the organization.

However, the rigid structure and close monitoring of groups may have inhibited development on part of the team due to the following reasons:

The organization never offered opportunities for the group to apply skills gained in the training sessions: Training without practical application of the skills gained is useless. IRS did not offer the groups with opportunities to practice the knowledge, ideas, and skills learned in the training sessions. Therefore, this inhibited their development.

Consensus was not prioritized: Although IRS encourages consensus between the team leaders and the group members, this was not a priority. Therefore, the input of team on the aligned IRS functions could neither be measured nor specified under the realm of group’s own job processes. In this perspective, this rigidity and close monitoring inhibited their development.

Question 3

For a team to succeed, certain characteristics are mandatory. The success of IRS team can be attributed to the following effective team characteristics:

Effective communication: The teams of IRS communicate proactively. All team members’ value asking each other questions to get diverse ideas in decision making. As a result, most members have won trust and mutual acceptance from the others, and this leads to proper decision making that is inclusive of all members.

Time bound oriented: The groups of IRS are time bound and their operations are guided by time schedules. Effective leaders’ complete tasks in the set time and all team members are committed towards completing their tasks in the allocated time. In the case of IRS, some groups even miss lunch breaks in endeavor to complete their tasks before time.

Creativity: Effective groups are creative and innovative of new ideas that make work easier. For the case of IRS, the teams created an automatic database system programs and this greatly helped the government in identifying tax avoiders.  Good teams must always come up with new ideas.

Valued diversity: Effective groups must be diverse. For the case of IRS, over 400 members from diverse culture and backgrounds formed the work groups. Each group comprised of members from different backgrounds and this greatly contributed to proper decision making and creativity. ORDER YOUR PAPER NOW


Robert, E. Q. (2005). Moments of Greatness: Entering the Fundamental State of Leadership. Harvard: Harvard Business Review.

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