Leadership: Bad and Good Leader








Leadership: Case Study 3

The common query that is frequently raised during job interviews is “How do you intend to handle the current crisis facing the company?” What interviewers are checking out is which qualities the individual will bring to the company. A leader is expected to work hard towards solving problems facing the organization even if it means changing company policies as long as the decision seeks to improve the company’s success. This does not only influence the company positively, but also the leader’s reputation is respected. Some decisions that leaders implement cannot be precisely attributed to their job experience but mostly their personal character and values. This can be used in rating between an effective and bad leader.

It is agreeable that the last problem a leader would want to encounter while assuming a position in a company, is financial problems. In such a situation, the priority issue to address is bringing back the company out of such a crisis through affordable strategies. While referring to the case study of Toro Toro manufacturer, the decision that the CEO, Ken Melrose took to lower the cost of Lawsuit through mediation between the company and the affected parties, proved to be fruitful. This may have involved changing few company policies to ensure that his strategy is implemented fully. Bruhn, (2004) talks about changes in terms of leading a change and managing the change. Leading changes in a company is not only influenced by the leaders’ character but also his/her philosophy on how the company’s resources can be generated and mobilized to keep it at its best. Upon implementation of change, it is equally important to manage the change so that the expected outcomes are realized. Managing change according to Brubn, (2004), ensures that the organization is stable, and any unexpected changes are handled immediately. At most times, leaders will determine the success of the change implemented, based on how they manage the change. A good leader is therefore expected to, both lead and manage the changes instead of either. Leaders steering change are expected to involve their members as agents of supporting the change. Most employees will evaluate the success of change based on whether it matches with their values.

The change was inevitable in Toro Toro manufacturer considering about 50 lawsuits in a year due to serious machinery injuries which were to result in the bad reputation of the company and worse, losses. Ken Melrose’s first goal was to solve the financial crisis by establishing mediation policy. This change fully involved the employees as they were to act as a representative in the mediation process with the affected customers. During mediation, the company was to determine what transpired to the injury, express their sympathy and most importantly meet the family’s needs. By choosing such a strategy, we can agree that Ken Melrose’s value, empathy clearly influenced his decision.

This move by the CEO can be viewed in two dimensions. First, while considering the fact that a business cannot succeed without customers, any issue affecting them will have to be attended to with urgency to ensure that the company reputation is maintained. Lawsuits towards the company could be attributed to the fact that customers’ feedback on their products were not handled and that affected customers were not contacted. By implementing a strategy where customers are reached out to, it will help in creating a positive image of the company and building customers’ confidence and trust. Also, by finding out what went on to cause the injury will help in determining whether the accidents resulted due to machinery orientation, a factor which the manufacturer can easily adjust to reduce the cases.

On the other hand, Ken Melrose choose mediation out of empathy for the customers. A good leader does not only consider customers as profit makers but as humans as well. Deciding to reach out to the affected families showed how he cared for his customers’ well-being. It is clear that his character as an empathetic leader resulted in a reduction of company claims by 95% and saved on various costs associated.

Being empathetic is mostly overlooked while considering qualities of a good leader as it is often confused with sympathy. The sympathetic leader is seen as one who has concern feelings, pity or rather sorrow for an individual undergoing traumatic experience. However, empathy is the ability to be aware of other people’s feelings even though there is no room to sympathize with them and always a part of emotional intelligence. Such a quality is therefore not considered mostly when effective leadership is rated. This is because, people perceive business leaders to be tough and vision drivers who set organizational goals and lead the employees towards achieving them with their influence and personality (Undung & Guzman, 2009).

We can confidently agree that Ken Melrose is an empathetic leader in that he understood what the customers were feeling towards damage caused by their products. He took an action out of it to meet their needs and show them how the firm is concerned with their status. Undung & Guzman, (2009) discussed that an empathetic leader is as well effective by displaying traits such as the good listener, emotionally intelligent and most importantly non-judgmental. Empathetic leaders spend most of their time listening to their employees and customer’s feedback and talks less. When receiving negative feedback such as malfunctioning machinery resulting in accidents, the leader could end up giving many explanations defending the company and blaming the wrong use of the machinery instead of listening to what the customers say. With this, the customer is likely to sue the company to seek attention and compensation. Mediation strategy was a way where the customers could explain the events and give their feedback.

Even though the feelings of others may be in disagreement with own feelings towards the same issue, passing judgment will not be a good idea. Empathetic leaders will understand other people’s feelings and try their best to assist them without judging whether their feelings are correct or wrong (Gentry et al., 2015). But at the same time, they are emotionally intelligent in that they step away from their feelings and other feelings and instead analyze the feeling in a subjective way. As much as empathizing with others is important, leaders will not allow the feelings to control the entire situation.

As much as empathy as a quality to good leaders is not appreciated much, it is a critical skill when evaluating effective leadership. Empathy promotes trust with both the employees and customers. When employers do not trust the character in leadership, then he/she is not a leader but rather a manager. When a leader shows the employees or customers that he/she understands and appreciates their feelings even though they don’t agree, it breeds trust. With this quality, it is probable that Ken Melrose not only built trust with the customers but also the employees. The CEO understood how the customers were enraged and made sure that by mediation process, they will be able to express what they need hence strengthening their relationship and most importantly improving the company’s productivity.

Currently, employees do not just follow their leaders blindly as they used to back in the past. Leaders, therefore, ought to build trust and rapport with their employees which can be effectively achieved exposing their thinking. Before introducing a new policy or change, it is important all the inputs of the employees are considered which include their feelings towards the initiative. With this, the leader is assured of support and openness from the employees. In a study done by Gentry et al., (2015), by exercising empathy, leaders will be able to understand the reasons behind poor performance. Performance is one of the key elements that every leader seek to achieve excellence. The leader will implement several strategies which aim in driving each employee to good performance which will translate to positive customer’s outcome. Gentry et al. (2015, p. 4) state that “empathic emotion plays a critical role in creating a paternalistic climate of support and protection to promote successful job performance”.

It is agreeable that people demonstrate empathy naturally, however, given the importance of the skills, leaders not able to demonstrate the skill naturally will be encouraged to develop the skills. Empathy is therefore not fixed, and the leader needs to learn the skill. When given time and support, leaders can develop their empathic skills through training and involvement in various developmental activities. We can conclude that, while leading a team, personal characters and values greatly influence how decisions are made. In a business, customer well-being should be a priority as they contribute greatly to the success of the company.


Gentry W. A et al. (2015). Empathy in the Workplace: A Tool for Effective Leadership. Center for Creative Leadership. http://insights.ccl.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/EmpathyInTheWorkplace.pdf
Bruhn, J. C. (2004). Leaders who create change and those who manage it: How leaders limit Success. The Health Care Manager. Vol 23. No. 2

Undung, Y., & de Guzman, A. B. (2009). Understanding the elements of empathy as a component of care-driven leadership.Journal Of Leadership Studies, 3(1), 19-28. doi:10.1002/jls.20092

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Leadership: Bad and Good Leader. (2022, Feb 04). Retrieved from https://essaylab.com/essays/leadership-bad-and-good-leader

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