Australian business diplomas are one of the most in-demand courses sought after by local and international students alike. According to NCVER's
data collected for 2017, courses in the business services training package had the highest number of enrolments in New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia, Tasmania, Northern Territory and amongst international enrolments!
Why do a business course over other programs?
Why do so many people want to do a business course over other courses? Some of the feedback we have received is that it is a broad course that covers many industries and can give many a solid foundation to understanding in many areas of business such as human resources, marketing, leadership and management, as well as operations.
Have you ever wondered what sort of assessment is involved in a Diploma of Business program? The example below concerns a leadership unit which can be taken as an elective for a Diploma of Business course information available here
Emotional intelligence case study information
Australian Hardware is a large and expanding hardware and homewares retailer with approximately 140 stores located across Australia. In its vision statement, Australian Hardware states that it intends to ‘lead the hardware and home-improvement market in Australia within five years’. In order to realise this vision, the organisation intends to:
- build market share by focusing on the customer experience
- control direct and indirect costs through efficient internal processes
- establish the reputation of Australian Hardware as a socially and environmentally responsible company.
These strategic organisation-wide directions are implemented from senior management down, in the form of performance expectations for managers and employees at every level of the organisation.
Australian Hardware realises that the success of the business rests on its people. For this reason, the organisation insists that managers build effective teams by responding to the needs of employees. Such needs include safety and security, fairness, flexibility, skills development and self-actualisation. Satisfying such needs will allow employees to focus more effectively on work tasks and customer needs. In addition, Australian Hardware encourages managers to take a flexible approach to meeting performance targets and to set goals in close collaboration with employees.
To implement strategic directions and advance Australian Hardware’s values, managers are expected to lead employees by, first of all, modelling positive behaviours and attributes – those they expect their employees to emulate and embody in turn. To lead and inspire people, managers must demonstrate keen emotional awareness and promote positive team-building behaviours in others.
You are the new General Operations Manager of the Wollongong, NSW, store and you are ready for a challenge. You are directly responsible for managing general sales and checkout staff, administration staff and a human resources officer. You report to the Store Manager, who is responsible for all areas of store responsibility (Timber, Plumbing & Electrical, Gardens and Homewares departments and general operations).
For the following case-study-based questions, put yourself in the position of the new general operations manager and answer the questions accordingly.
- Your Store Manager has had a stressful month. It is the end of the financial year and sales revenue in the Timber and Plumbing & Electrical departments is down on targets, almost certainly due to increased competition from smaller competitors for trade contractors’ business.Just this week, the Store Manager held a meeting in which she yelled at all the department managers and told you and them to work out a way to improve revenue. Obviously, the outburst did not make much sense as the department managers, in such a large business, do not have the capability to raise much revenue directly. Marketing and distribution innovations that could have an effect are mainly a head office responsibility. The Wollongong store’s inability to counter the threat from smaller, nimbler trade suppliers has been the main reason for the revenue deficit.
Naturally, the atmosphere around the store and in the management team is subdued and a few managers have discussed leaving the organisation; other managers have responded by pushing unreasonable sales demands onto their sales staff.
You are now feeling pressure to do something: to act contrary to budget planning and cut costs or to increase pressure on others to offset poor performance in other areas.
In your opinion, this leadership behaviour was disrespectful to all the managers, created unnecessary concern about job security and undermined trust. There has been a clearly negative flow-on effect down through the store, which is now affecting people at a lower level. You are justifiably angry at the manager’s behaviour and blame her for making a bad situation worse with poor leadership and poor emotional awareness.
In your written response to the above scenario:
- Describe what you think is the best way to respond to the Store Manager’s behaviour. Describe how you would model positive leadership behaviour.
- Describe the principles of emotional intelligence that the Store Manager did not demonstrate.
- Describe how the Store Manager should have acted and communicated.
- Describe the connection between the Store Manager’s behaviour and store morale. Describe what effect the Store Manager’s behaviour could have on store performance.
- An employee has come to you with an issue involving a co-worker. In general, the sales team is a pretty cohesive team, but now a relatively new member of the team is rubbing people the wrong way.She never participates in drinks or other social occasions outside work. She never involves herself in normal, day-to-day conversations about family, popular movies or culture. The team is beginning to form the opinion that she is too aloof and doesn’t like the other team members and is quite upset about it. On the sales team, it’s really important to be able to feel a connection with other team members. When you feel this connection, you know you’re able to rely on them – to relieve you when you need some personal time, feed you information as you need it and help you serve customers.
You happen to know that the sales staff member in question is a valuable staff member with good customer skills and product knowledge; however, as a foreign-born, conservative, religious woman, she is having trouble relating to the other team members. Many team-bonding opportunities involve activities that she cannot participate in, such as out-of-hours parties, alcohol or confusing cultural references. She is in a bind because she would like to be accepted as a member of the team, but when all avenues to team-bonding are closed off, she feels stigmatised and perceived by others as an unfriendly person.
In your written response to the above scenario:
- Provide at least two examples of possible misinterpretations of expressions or behaviour that may arise in the context of a diverse workforce.
- Describe how you would explain to the employee who came to you with the issue how cultural expressions may be misinterpreted – and have been in this case.
- Discuss how the team can raise their awareness of cultural expression and promote effective communication to avoid misunderstandings in order to resolve the differences.
- An employee that you manage really gets on your nerves.It’s not that their performance is all that bad. For example, the employee always does what is required of them in terms of professionalism, administration tasks and dressing appropriately. They meet sales targets and their customer service ratings on their performance scorecards are good.
On the other hand, the employee does not really respond to the team training and team-building sessions that you have initiated and that have proven so effective in sustaining team morale and driving others to success. Other team members seem to thrive on, and draw energy from, these team sessions, while this employee, if anything, appears emotionally drained from interacting with their peers. They say that they would rather work individually and that all the team stuff is suffocating. You’ve really tried hard to build a culture of teamwork and this feels like a slap in the face.
In your written response to the above scenario:
- Describe how you would set aside your own emotions to focus on and identify how the employee (probably) feels. Refer to relevant principles of emotional intelligence.
- Describe how knowledge of, for example, learning styles, personality types or communication styles, might be able to help you relate to and understand the employee better and adapt your response.
- Describe how you could use your awareness of your own feelings and those of the employee to adapt your response so that the following needs are satisfied:
- your needs (emotional needs, need for team cohesiveness, need to meet performance standards)
- employee’s needs (emotional needs, need to develop and perform within a team environment).
- It is the end of the financial year and sales revenue at the Wollongong store in the Timber and Plumbing & Electrical departments is down on targets. This issue is almost certainly due to increased competition from smaller competitors for trade contractors’ business; nevertheless some action should be taken by management to mitigate the effect of this issue on the store overall.As a result of managerial discussions, it has been decided that some employee performance targets will be increased where capacity exists and some programs, such as training, will be delayed. These measures will have the effect of potentially increasing revenue and reducing costs to compensate for overall poorer-than-expected performance in the Wollongong store.
Each manager will have responsibility for implementing this group decision in their particular area of responsibility. It will be important to consider the emotional impact on staff and any consequential impact on health, safety and wellbeing as well as the impact on performance and the achievement of organisational goals.
In your written response:
- Describe the relationship between emotionally effective people and the attainment of business objectives.
- Describe how considering the emotional impact of decision-making could lead to better decision-making (with respect to business objectives).
- Describe what a possible process of decision-making that takes into account emotional impact could look like. Decisions in this case include, for example, setting particular performance targets, or selecting what programs can be delayed.
- Identify policies, procedures, or legislation that will need to be adhered to in order to satisfy internal and external requirements related to managing emotions in the workplace.
- Describe how OHS legislation is relevant to how managers implement business decisions.