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It is often said that a ‘First impression is the Final Impression’ (AJS, 2013). Unfortunately, this did not turn out well for Lisa Benton, a Harvard Business School grad, who had to face this ordeal from her manager and her co-worker at her new job. How did she get into this mess? Could she have done something differently? To begin with, I feel the biggest mistake Lisa made was turn down the offer from Right-Away. According to me, ‘A known enemy is always better than an unknown friend’.
Lisa was liked at Right-Away and was well acquainted with everyone there, furthermore she had a good relationship with Kingston, and this would have helped her rise higher sooner. Next, before beginning work at Houseworld, Lisa should have enquired with HR as to who her reporting Manager would be. This is essential and she could have spoken to employees who worked under Linton and got their feedback on Linton and based on this feedback could have requested HR for another project/manager.
On her second day, Lisa had questions for Linton but when she noticed Linton and Scoville in an intimate meeting she left and eventually asked the questions to Scoville. Over a period of time, Lisa sought answers only from Scoville and not from Linton, thus adding a kind of a barrier between her and Linton. A very vital point was that Lisa was not assertive enough. This is well indicated by the delayed lunch meetings between her and Linton, when they were to discuss her objectives.
In addition, there were several assumptions made between Lisa and Linton when it came to the meetings.
Lisa assumed, she should be in a ‘learner’ mode, but the feedback given to her was that she was too quiet during the meetings. Lisa should have identified her responsibilities for the meetings beforehand. There were a few occasions on which Scoville’s behavior could be questioned for instance when he would yell at Lisa. Also, his condescending nature would make Lisa uncomfortable.
However, instead of tolerating this, Lisa should have reported this to HR, who could have dealt with Scoville in an appropriate manner. Lisa would always make references to Right-Away and the work she did there, such as “At Right-Away I would…”, this could have been avoided completely, Lisa is no longer at Right-Away and these references are not needed. As already mentioned, Lisa relied too much on Scoville, thus giving him more power. (Ancona, 3rd Ed)
In certain cases, this could have worked as by giving more power to people like Scoville is one way to control them, but for her this approach failed. Finally, when Vernon asked Lisa, if she was happy with her job, Lisa should have been honest and told him her problems, after all everyone is working for the organization and its’ success. Lisa could maintain good relationships, this was clear from the relationships she had with her other colleagues; however the Lisa-Linton-Scoville relationship had many areas for improvement. What she should do now?
The first option Lisa has is to call up Kingston at Right-Away, admit that she made a mistake and request them to rehire her. Kingston spoke highly of Lisa and Lisa had a good relationship with her co-workers at Right-Away, furthermore she would be promoted to VP in a few years and the pay at Right-Away is much better than Houseworld. The next option is to speak to Vernon and HR regarding a change in her project and division at Houseworld. This would alienate her from everyone and will cause a negative effect on her chances of a promotion at Houseworld, as Lisa would be known as someone who cannot resolve conflicts.
The final option and the one I would recommend would be to continue working in the same team and resolve all differences with Linton and Scoville out of the office and have a fresh new start. Unfortunately Linton is not the best of trainers and when Lisa does change her role after 12 months as this was the case with Houseworld, she will have to put in more effort to make up for the lost training. This was the case colleague who used to report to Linton earlier.
However, this would be a great learning curve for Lisa in her career on ‘How not to be a Bad Manager’. Conflict resolution plays a vital role in managing projects and if Lisa demonstrates this, it will do laurels for her career later on.
American Journal of Sociology – The University of Chicago Press – 2013 Managing for the Future – Anocona, Kochan,Scully – 3rd Edition
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