Lisa Benton felt like she was put behind the eight-ball from the start in reference to her relationship with her bosses, Deborah Linton and Ron Scoville. According to a research article, “Are Your Subordinates Setting You Up to Fail? ” impressions and expectations made in the first five days are very predictive to what the working relationship will look like for the following weeks and even months to come. In Benton’s case, this seems to have happened in the first five minutes.
After initial meetings with Linton and Scoville, they both mentioned that they were not fond or impressed by Harvard MBAs, and Benton left the meetings feeling like they were disinterested in her. Linton and Scoville both created the Pygmalion Effect in a downward spiral which had a direct effect on Benton’s behavior. Linton made it clear from the beginning that she and Scoville had a great relationship. They even seemed intimate at times. This was very uncomforting to Benton because she felt like she was the third wheel. Linton had created two groups in their team.
She and Scoville were in the, “in-group,” and unfortunately, Benton was in the, “out-group. ” She learned that Linton and Scoville had been working on this project for eight months before she jumped on board. Scoville reinforced the Pygmalion Effect in a downward spiral on Benton by his preconceived notion of her competence. One of the first things he said when she came on board was, “You’re in learning mode…you won’t be expected to be a brand wizard or decision maker. ” As a result, Benton began to subconsciously lose confidence and question her competence.
Even though she felt like she was over-qualified for the tasks she was given, when her chance to speak up in brand meetings arrived, she chose to bite her tongue and refer to Scoville. As the Pygmalion Effect suggests, as time went on Benton became more disconnected with her bosses. She spent time chatting with other colleagues instead of Linton and Scoville. As a result, Scoville only talked to her when he needed help. This began to irritate Benton because in her eyes, he was treating her like a servant girl. She also lost all trust she had in Linton.
After she had two incidents, she felt like Linton was not genuinely looking out for her own interests or even putting the blame on her! As a result, Benton began to lose motivation and job satisfaction rapidly. So much so, that it was apparent to group project manager, Jack Vernon. Benton received unfair preconceived notions from her two bosses from before she even stepped in the office on her first day. However, she let her biases towards Linton and Scoville impact her thoughts and emotions throughout her time at work. Even though she claimed she would give them the benefit of the doubt after a cold welcoming, this did not happen.
She began to make several confirmatory biases towards them that may have not been true. When she was eating with some colleagues, they mentioned that the Home Care division was becoming increasingly dominated by MBAs. After hearing this, Benton immediately pinned this as the reason of their resentment towards her. This solidified the idea in her mind that they did indeed resent her. When Scoville answered questions for her, she chose not to remember the fact that he helped her out, but instead, remembered the condescending tone he used when answering.
This condescending tone would be a reoccurring theme in the interactions between her and Scoville. As for Linton, she assumed interpreted all of her actions in a negative way. For example, when Linton apparently was upset for her after a miscommunication with Vernon, Benton assumed it was only because Vernon went over her head and approached Benton directly. Benton also allowed Scoville’s comments on her initial lack of competence and biases affect her actions. In the brand meetings, Benton proved that she did not have the confidence to speak up even though she thought she was only following orders.
She performed down to Scoville’s expectations of her when she should have been confident in her skills. If contributing in a respectful manner, she could have slowly proved that she was competent and had high aptitude for the job. Also, Benton seemed to be social with everyone in the company except for her bosses. She did not make any extra efforts to connect with Linton or Scoville like she did with other colleagues. The team spirit was crushed because she alienated herself from Linton and Scoville.
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