1. In order to improve morale in her department, she should focus on those things that her employees really care about. It may be fruitless to try to change the perceptions of the work they are doing. However, there are plenty of workplaces where people are doing work that gets pounded in the public, but those workers are not always miserable. Instead, they are often happy because they are being provided the things that matter the most to them (White, 2014). By this, one might suggest that she could provide better benefits and more bonuses and incentives. People may be able to look past the nature of the work if they are given a compensation package that allows them to better take care of their own families.
In addition to that, she may feature one day every week where they discuss a feel-good story about a person who want able to afford a house because of their work. Rather than looking at the statistics and feeling negative about things, they could focus on individual stories that are positive. This could help employees deal with the negative outside attention and derive more of their occupational self-worth from the individual stories of how they are helping people who otherwise would not have had a chance to own a home, for instance.
2. One of the most important leadership roles is cultivating and maintaining a share vision of the company’s future and what it is accomplishing. At this point, the vision for what good the lender is doing is being drowned out by noise from the outside. It is her job to ensure that she is maintaining that strong vision so that people understand the core purpose of the work. Surely the business model is not perfect, but the goal of the company is to give people opportunities. It is their job to provide people with the chance to do something they would otherwise not be able to do. What consumers do with that opportunity is their business and does not necessarily reflect on the company itself.
Another role is leading by example. She should lead by example by blocking out some of the noise from the outside. She should stop focusing on what people are saying and begin focusing on the good work that her team is doing. This will allow her to better manage her team and the expectations hoisted upon them. This may encourage other people within the company to try to block out the opinions from the outside.
3. Leadership is not a panacea for organizational competence. There is only so much any leader can do to guide a company when that company may be going through difficult times. Ultimately a leader can make the best of a situation, but there are limits to what a leader can accomplish if the rest of the company is collapsing around them (Pillai, 2013). An excellent example of this can be taken from the financial collapse itself. On Wall Street, the leadership of various big investment banks handled things differently. In those investment bank board rooms where the leaders were prescient, they were able to save their banks from total destruction. In those where the leaders were less than responsive, the banks went under completely. Even in those scenarios where leadership did a good job handling the crisis, people lost their jobs, lives were ruined, and the industry took a major hit. While it is certainly true that they did a better job than their counterparts, they were not perfect. This is to say that leaders are dependent on good circumstances with their leadership. Without it, these leaders can scarcely pull off miracles.
- Pillai, R. (2013). Transformational leadership for crisis management. Handbook of Research on Crisis Leadership in Organizations, Edward Elgar Publishing, Cheltenham, 47-66.
- White, P. (2014). Improving staff morale through authentic appreciation. Development and Learning in Organizations: An International Journal, 28(5), 17-20.