Matheson Inc. Leadership Practices

In this paper, I will choose Matheson Postal Services because I have worked there for a few months, and it remains one of the best places I would love to work in the future. Matheson is one of the most popular companies offering postal services in California and is operated and owned. It was founded in 1962 and is headquartered in Sacramento in California. According to Meeks (2019 p. 189), the company established a partnership with the United States Postal Service (USPS) two years later to create the Matheson Postal Services that currently specializes in transportation services, hauling and handling time-sensitive material for the (USPS) (Matheson Companies, 2018 n. p). Prior to the emergence and development of technology and information system, the company was one of the best and served a number of regions both in the United States and the rest of the world. For the large part of its operations, Matheson has been dedicated to delivering load safely and efficiently, providing national transportation services, as well as maintaining top on-time performance. A number of literature works have noted an excellent partnership between Matheson and USPS, with the former being committed to reliable, convenient, and safe service with continuous improvement.

The company owns and operates more than 500 a fleet of trailers and tractors. These tractors and trailers serve the USPS as well as eight terminals that are located a few miles from the postal facilities they provide service. The terminals include Denver CO, Highland, Salt Lake City UT, Tucson AZ, Seattle WA, Las Vegas NV, Boise ID, and Oakland CA. According to the company’s websites, each terminal is led by a terminal manager and has a small maintenance shop, driver support staff, and mechanics. Each terminal manager is responsible for the operation and maintenance of a specific contract in regard to the local postal facility. The headquarter guides each manager by providing standard rules and regulations and makes critical decisions that cannot be executed by the local terminal managers. Additionally, the4 drivers agree to a contract with the terminal managers the headquarter assigns. The company conducts all its operations, accounting, quality control, sales, human resources, and safety from its headquarters. The headquarters is also the center for Matheson Control Center (MCC). According to the company’s website, MCC refers to operations as well as the communication center that maintains operation throughout the year. The company human resource mainly the drivers are available day and night for delivery of urgent services. In addition to the above services, the company’s headquarter also accommodates the Matheson Postal Service, Matheson Flight Extenders, as well as Matheson Mail Transportation. Matheson Companies (2018 n. p) notes that most of the company’s leadership operates out of its headquarters apart from the terminal managers. The company has one of the most competitive leadership with the leaders mandated to ensure the growth of both the company and its workforce.

Matheson Inc. Leadership Practices

Matheson employs a number of leadership behaviors that vary depending on the departments and their roles. Like other companies, leadership is a common denominator for all the successes the company has accrued over the years (Aas, 2017 p. 439). Notably, leadership has played a critical role in ensuring the company remains in business and more sore operations despite the advancement of technology that has made communication easier and cheaper and at the same time forced traditional companies to close their businesses or change to new products and services. Currently, the company employs behavioral leadership as its approach. According to a study conducted by Aas (2017 p. 440), Matheson Inc. leaders follow a set of rules and procedures that are established in its operations manual and require them to follow them strictly without deviating. The strictness of the company towards its leaders to follow procedures help in avoiding conflicts as well as providing a more straightforward solution to solve them once they arise. For instance, when there is a deviation, the company switches into the reaction mode to avoid escalating the issue. The reaction mode involves first blaming who made errors and determining the cause of the problem as well as who is responsible for solving the problem.

According to the behavioral leadership model, the authority or leaders are based on reward or punishment. In terms of reward, the company always ensures the performance keeps their jobs and is paid to do them. On the other hand, there is always the threat of losing or termination one’s contract if one makes a critical mistake or keeps repeating same mistakes. While behavioral leadership model has been fruitful to a number of companies in different industries, Matheson Inc. leadership continues struggling with day to day simple operations. For instance, the company’s terminal managers are not allowed to make any changes to operations regardless of the need to unless the higher management approves them. However, managers are highly criticized when they make any change and may risk losing their jobs. This shows that terminal levels have little leadership taking place and that leaders are just figures to oversee already laid down instructions and rules. In other words, the leaders at terminal levels have no authorities which make it hard to motivate subordinates and drivers in those terminal levels. On the other hand, the top management are authoritarian and reports have shown that the refuse to let go any form of control. Indeed, they prefer doing it all in the same way even if the outcomes are not convincing or do not meet the targets.

The management monitors the drivers on daily basis and hourly in some cases. Although this is important for maximum productivity and ensuring the cargo is safe, sometimes it shows mistrust and this lowers the morale of the workers. In fact, the company has tight on time restrictions that often denial the drivers resting times as they feel they can delay the load. Managers or terminal managers counsel drivers individually for violation, deficiency, and they have to answer for any delay. For the drivers, there is always the threat of punishment. However, according to Matheson Companies (2018 n. p), the company does little to correct driver behavior partly due to low driver turnover and extreme shortages of drives. On the other hand, the company rarely recognizes or rewards exceptional performance which is unfair considering they reprimand or even punish them once they make mistakes even of some of the mistakes are unavoidable. It is evident that leadership and management is more of fighters than leaders. A good leader should not only reprimand and punish wrong doers but also recognize the top performance. In Matheson, leaders continue running through daily problems and have very little or no foresight or advance planning. In their case, their main concerns is always ensuring the drivers keep time and the company keeps making profits without being concerned of the latter’s well-being and future problems that may arise.

Effects of Matheson Current Leadership

Leadership affects all activities within an organization. It determines the success and failure of organization. Matheson’s current leadership has a number of effects that significantly affect different levels across the company. The company has different stakeholders that have different roles. They include:

Terminal Managers

As mentioned earlier, terminal managers have limited roles and almost lack trust from the corporate. According to Matheson Companies (2018 n. p), the terminal managers have to keep justifying themselves as well as their decisions in order to convince the top management for their effectiveness and the choices they make on daily bases. The authors note that, the company wants to always know what us going to go on even at the lowest level including what they are planning to do about it. Despite most of the issues requiring solutions from the terminal managers, the corporate is involved all of them and this shows mistrust which often affects the role of the terminal managers. As a result, this type of management that is commonly known as micromanagement causes waste of valuable time in solving most of the challenges that could be solved by the terminal managers in a few hours or even minutes. Besides, the management style causing the terminal managers to feel untrusted, it causes them to feel unappreciated and underutilized.

Drivers

The drivers are one of the most important assets of the company despite being underappreciated. As discussed earlier, the drivers are valued as workers than human beings. The company has tight on time restrictions that often denial the drivers resting times as they feel they can delay the load. Managers or terminal managers counsel drivers individually for violation, deficiency, and they have to answer for any delay. For the drivers, there is always the threat of punishment and risk losing their jobs if they do not justify themselves. The company has continuously been taking underperforming drivers in an attempt to improve the employment of non-drivers. The company does not trust the drivers as evident from constant monitoring and unnecessary punishment. Reports have shown that the company does not value them despite being the most valuable assets across the organization as without them the company cannot operate. Indeed, the drivers ensure the company achieves its objective and goals of delivering services on time and safely yet the company fails to recognize them. Additionally, Matheson Inc. fails to recognize its drivers despite their exceptional performance. The company uses the control center for micromanagement of non-driver personnel. Reports have shown that the company is so strict with the drivers such as that they have to ask for permission when they need to stop in order to use the restroom. As a result, micromanagement demotivates the drives and they lack the desire to go above and beyond.

Call Center Employees

The call center employees feel unappreciated by both the company and the drivers the company employs to assist. In most case, the call centers are places for drivers to get information when they want to make critical decisions. In addition, they should act as communication centers and help the drivers to pass pertinent information for the company to make competitive decisions. While the environment should provide drivers with comfort for passing, calling or receiving information, it is adversarial making it uncomfortable for the drivers. Indeed, they are tasked with making decisions that are for the drivers. The above issues show that the company’s corporate culture is characterized by job insecurity, distrust, separation of responsibilities, and endless blame.

Matheson Inc. SWOT Analysis

Strengths

The company has a Strong and Safety Program. The Company has a top notch safety program that keeps up with the current program. According to Matheson Companies (2018 n. p), it has an online monthly program for training the drivers. Additionally, the company has a semiannual safety meeting between the management and the drivers. The safety program ensures the company reduces accidents as much as possible.

The company has well-established long-term contracts. The company has been in the service industry for more than four decades. As a result, they have established one of the best records of keeping with the terms of contracts.

Weaknesses

The company has a shortage of equipment. The company lacks enough equipment to fulfill the contract. Indeed, it lacks spare units thus causing the available equipment to be in continuous use. Although this is good for capital use, it is bad for contract maintenance particularly on time requirements when some equipment breaks or is not fit for the existing weather. The company struggle to maintain quality drivers. Although part of the struggle is self-induced, the company has shown in ability to maintain and attract quality drivers in recent years. The fall below average pay level especially due to their current pay scale for drivers. This has made it impossible for drivers to continue delivering their services to the company.

Opportunities

Emergence and advancement of new technologies is an opportunity for Matheson Inc. The emergence of new technologies in the trucking industry is one of the major opportunities for the company. Technologies such as driver logging, real time GPS monitoring and measures for preventing accidents on the new trucks are important for companies such as Matheson. The customer environment is ever changing. Contemporary post offices are continuously looking for means to cut costs. Indeed, businesses are consolidating contracts to merge single carrier that are less profitable into more lucrative contracts. This offers the company an opportunity to improve its operations especially through merging.

Threats

There has been a decline in postal usage. The post office has been regarded as a traditional form of mailing. With emergence of new technologies of communications, the volume of post mails has drastically declined over the last two decades with futurists positing the decline to continue. This has affected the performance of Matheson Company as the company has to compete with companies such as FedEx and UPS. Secondly, the company experiences driver shortages. The current legislation from the transportation department makes driver jobs less appealing. As a result, more and more people continue avoiding the industry with only those who lack other options showing interests in the industry. Additionally, drivers jobs are some of the most underpaid jobs in the world. This makes it hard for people to consider them as a stable source of income especially with rising costs of living.

Leadership of the Current Leader

As discussed earlier, the company employs behavior leadership theory in its current leadership. According to Anthony (2017 n. p), the theory is employee centered and focuses on their concerns as well as the need to complete the task. In this case, it is possible to argue that the company operates under the job-oriented theory. According to reports the company’s management focuses on the completion of the task at hand over the well-being of the employees.

Strengths of the Current Leader

One of strength of the current leader is their ability to focus on the tasks related to the company’s contract performance. Notably, his style of leadership orients itself to ensuring that the employees perform every aspect of the contract. Indeed, he structures tasks in order to complete the contract terms. Secondly, the leader is well positioned and adept in solving problems as they arise. He is ever leader to deal with problems when they occur and offer timely solutions to ensure things get back on tract. He ensures all the challenges arising in every department are passed through him and attempts to offer solution to every challenge. On the same note, he directs terminal managers on ways to solve challenges arising within their departments and demands them to take accountability for their failures. Finally, the leader has the ability to focus on the company’s policies and procedures. The company’s extensiveness demands almost every function to be defined by some policies and procedures. For instance, drivers operate under certain policies and procedures such as strict time limits to deliver services as agreed. If they deviate from the scheduled time, there are policies and procedures for either punishing or sacking them.

Weaknesses of the Current Leader

Highly skilled and motivated drivers are unrecognized and unappreciated. According to behavioral theory, workers are more likely to change their behavior and become more productive. The behavior of the leader has a great impact on the employees’ behaviors. The leader does not motivate exceptional drivers. Instead, he rebukes and punishes underperforming employees which lowers their motivation and morale. Additionally, the leader does not employ reward-penalty system. Although the management is eager to punish the drivers for their errors, on the other hand, the do not reward those that perform better. Finally, the leader fears change and show unwillingness to give power. The leader does not delegate responsibilities to the terminal managers. This results to waste of time as he has to do everything including responsibilities for terminal mangers and in some cases the drivers. On the other hand, he is unwilling to change or embrace changes and prefer doing things in the same ways they have been done for long.

Recommendation

Implement career planning and leadership training. The company should implement training for leadership and career planning. Leadership trainings are important for leaders as they ensure that they are not only productive, but also maintain a good relationship with employees. Besides, the trainings would equip them with a wide range of skills to deal with the ever-changing market. Secondly, the company should ensure regular and clear feedback. Feedback enables the company to determine the position of the company and make adjustments where necessary. Besides, it allows the company to gauge its relationship with employees and make necessary improvements to cultivate good relationships within the organization. Finally, the company should implement contingent positive rewards and other incentives. Rewards and other form of incentives help companies to retain and attract top talents. Besides, they increase productivity across the organization as employees are motivated to give their best.

 


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