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You are the supervisor for a large technology-based corporation. One of your subordinate managers, Carly, is heading up a project for a new system that is scheduled to market on the first of the year. It is August, and things are not progressing at the pace you had hoped.

When you meet with Carly, all she does is complain about one of the team members, Morris. She exclaims that Morris is always contradicting her and disagreeing with her in front of the entire team. Nothing is getting done because there is this constant tension. Carly continues, saying that Morris is acting like this because he feels that he is smarter than she is—he has a higher-level degree than she does.

When you ask if she has had a conversation with him about it, she says no. She feels that no matter what she says or does, he simply will not listen.

Later that day, you schedule a meeting with both Carly and Morris. After meeting with both parties and talking to other team members, it is obvious that Carly was exaggerating her story. As it turns out, Morris is treated unfairly, compared to the rest of the team. The other team members seem to think that Carly feels threatened by Morris.

  • Why do you think that Carly did not come to you sooner to discuss the project delays? 
  • Why do you think Carly has not had a conversation with Morris, or vice versa, about their differences? How do you think each of them would respond to this type of conversation? Explain.
  • What is the biggest problem with the way these team members interact? What could they do to remedy the problem? Explain.
  • Do you think Carly should continue to serve as project manager? Explain.
  • How would you begin to address this situation? Come up with a plan to remedy this problem, and outline a plan for getting the project back on track for the January 1 release.

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