Understanding the unique challenges facing leaders today


Learning Activity 1 Theme One: Understanding the unique challenges facing leaders today, and the skills needed to meet them, will help you as a leader to act decisively and proactively.

Maria Artos, a 25-year-old female graduate of Harvard Business School, has just been appointed to the job of Director of IT in a medium-size business. Her immediate junior in the business, Anthony Jones, is a 53-year-old long term employee of the business.  He was passed over for the job that Maria Artos now holds.



  • First, identify all the leadership challenge issues that might be suggested by this fact pattern.
  • As can be imagined, both Artos and Jones could feel uncomfortable since Artos was told that Anthony Jones also applied for the position and Anthony could be resentful for being passed over. Students will create an opening interview/meeting between Artos and Jones on her first day on the job.  Use this week’s course material to create an exchange between Artos and Jones.
  • In creating the exchange between Jones and Artos, have Artos deal with all the identified issues using her “leadership relationship building skills”. Note: In responding, consider that the situation is one in which the skills from week five should be employed along with addressing the topic of diversity.



Learning Activity 2

The executives of GDD are meeting to consider three finalists for a new position: Division Head of the Middle East.  The winning candidate will be in a high- profile job.   Although GDD usually lets Division Heads choose their management staff, a unique opportunity allowed GDD to acquire a small local company with training in the delivery field.  The average age of the all-male group is 39.

The effectiveness of the person in this new leadership position is of utmost importance for GDD’s future. GDD is also aware that certain cultural differences will make developing the division harder than usual.   GDD needs a candidate who will know how to work with the Yemen employees and at the same time has some knowledge of the customs and language of the country.  After carefully reviewing résumés, the board selected six candidates for the first round of interviews, after which the list of finalists was narrowed to two.  Both candidates seem to have the intellect and experience to handle the job.   One candidate is female and the other male. The male candidate is 34 while the female is 36. Both candidates are attractive and single.

Before the second-round interview, Rockfish has decided to ask you to devise a set of questions that will help elicit information as to how familiar the candidates are with handling the cultural diversity issues the job will present.

In addition to using the course readings for the week, you may want to research some of the cultural

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