Team work is an effort of a group of individuals who come together with an aim of facing a common situation and tackling the task towards success. This requires that each team member be ready to lead and also prepare to be lead at one point or another. It requires an overall group focus on the common mission to override the individual goals of each member. Therefore, at some point, everyone has to sacrifice for the rest of the members (Parker, 2011).
As the Direct Superior in a giant technological company having a new product manufacture assignment scheduled for launching in early next year, under my Junior manager, Mrs. Carly, I would be concerned by the behind schedule project. The reason forwarded by Mrs. Carly, claiming that her junior, Mr. Morris, is affecting her progress would necessitate my reactions in addressing the following issues raised in the best way possible to ensure the project is back on track. The various areas of concern and my reaction are as follows:
1. My perception of why Carly didn’t approach me earlier to analyze the project delays
I think Carly did not come to me sooner because she did not have a valid case against her subordinate, Mr. Morris, as she claimed. On the surface, that would be a straight forward explanation. Therefore, my further take on her behavior is that, Carly had lost some of her control and focus on the project and had started to look for reasons and explanations instead of solutions. This is not a quality of a good leader. A good leader takes full responsibility of any shortfall of their team, then tries to address them at group level and only escalates any underlying challenges with suggestions of what they have done or are in the progress of doing to solve the problems (Kerzner, 2009). At this point, good leaders only ask for any assistance aimed at supporting their actions of remedy and not asking for the senior managers to face and handle their group challenges.
2. Reasons as to why I believe Carly hasn’t discussed with Morris, or the other way round, about their misunderstandings.
Carly is a project manager who knows better than not to handle issues as they come. It is with this in mind that I suppose Carly cannot talk to Morris because there is no direct reason for sabotage as she claims. The tension between her and Morris is due to non-work related issues like ego, inferiority complex and envy. On the other hand, Morris is bound by his position as a junior to question Carly’s actions towards her. He must be aware of the dislike she has for him as shown through her unfair treatment, thus Morris might have made a firm decision not to bother her on personal matters that he can put up with. Leadership is not about being in that top position where one directs others but rather an inborn sense of responsibility for the common good of a group in achieving its goals (Phillips, 2010).
3. My view on reaction of each on their possible discussion of the matter at hand. (Explained).
If Carly and Morris had to talk over the existing tension between them, I think from Carly’s character, she would be Moody and harsh towards Morris because she already has a set mind that Morris disrespects and undermines her due to his better educational background. She would approach the meeting ready to battle because her source of discomfort cannot be altered in a short while. This means she would have to study more and struggle to prove that she is right whenever Morris airs his opinion on issues. She is fighting from an inferiority complex position.
Morris on the other hand, might approach the meeting with the hope of getting some kind of settlement of the animosity directed at him by Carly. He is the junior staff of the two thus he is obliged to at least show some respect and listen to what is to be discussed before reacting. Morris would be objective in his manner because his cause of discomfort which can be changed in a short while since it is behavioral.
4. The main challenge about how the two team members interrelate and a possible solution (Explain).
The biggest problem the two members face is a communication breakdown. Whether agreeing or disagreeing, there has to be communication so that each party to a dispute has an idea of why the other has issues with them at a personal or official level. It is only then that one party can find a way of addressing the situation or approaching an able third party to handle the case. The best way to handle this is to ensure that the two participate in non work related activities and be in the same team. These activities can be team building, official tours and parties, where the two will operate as team mates or just colleagues. During these activities, it would be important to reverse the roles and let Morris be the leader (Parker, 2011). This might give Carly a chance to witness how Morris with his exceptional educational background, treats his teammates at a leadership position. The experience might make her change her perception and develop some understanding of how Morris communicates, since she is the source of the existing tension.
5. My thoughts about Carly continued service as Project Manager. (Explain).
I think Carly should go on in serving as the Project manager but not without some changes in her way of management. The essence of having a team is to develop leaders thus my approach will be to let her know her wanting leadership skills then explain to her that good leaders are always ready to receive feedback whether positive or negative because they act as indicators of how leaders are perceived by their subjects. They often highlight points of excellence and those that need improvement (Gold, Thorpe & Mumford, 2010). I would have the group use some avenue to air their views on the progress of the project directly to me if possible on a daily basis. This will have Carly focus on productivity and performance.
6. How I will begin to address this situation.
I will meet Carly first and give her a summary of the feedback I got from the team regarding her allegations. I would then remind her that everyone is supposed to focus only on performance and try to listen to others view with interest being made in the contents of suggestions rather than who made them or how the workmate made the comments. I would then meet Morris and explain to him the importance of addressing some matters which are non work related but affect good performance of individuals at work. Basing on what Carly says, Morris seems to be a bright member of the team who is able to move the project in the right direction at the right pace but Carly might be slowing and suppressing his valuable ideas. I would then talk to the team about importance of sorting out interpersonal situations that affect work negatively at the earliest time possible. This should be followed by a suggestion and advice meant to encourage them to come fourth and share any causes of discomfort that genuinely affects their performance. I will then meet Carly and Morris alone, then ask them to each state openly what they think the other should change in order to have a better work relationship.
7. Corrective measures for this setback, as laid down to realign the project to be on course for programmed launch.
Having realized the educational background of Morris and also his constant aggressive nature to air his opinion and openly offer suggestions although treated unfairly and thought to be disrespectful, I would allow him to forward his suggestions directly to me then I would have a look at them and move them down the chain of command (Wood, 2009). I would also ask Carly to let him lead a few project segments in an effort to speed up the development program. This might work well in giving Carly time to pursue her education further if it will satisfy her inner self and also provide Morris with the chance to lead and exercise his proficiency in the project development (Phillips, 2010).
In conclusion, conflicts at the workplace are bound to happen but what makes the difference is how they are resolved. A good manager will employ his experience in almost every scenario of dispute resolution in order to retain his work force and improve their efficiency even if the affected employees are wrong.
Gold, J., Thorpe, R., & Mumford, A. (2010). Handbook of leadership and management development. Surrey, UK: Gower Publishing, Ltd.
Parker, G. M. (2011). Team Players and Teamwork: New Strategies for Developing Successful Collaboration. New Jersey, NJ: John Wiley and Sons.
Phillips, J. (2010). IT Project Management: On Track from Start to Finish. New Jersey, NJ: McGraw Hill Professional.
Woods, J. T. (2009). Interpersonal Communication: Everyday Encounters. Stamford, US: Cengage Learning.