PeopleFirst Inc: A Star Employee but a Terrible Manager
(6 pages of text)
Case (Gen Exp)
PeopleFirst Inc. (PeopleFirst) was a management consulting company founded and run by Renee Janssen. Janssen had recently promoted a star employee, Marcela Lopez, to the position of manager. However, Lopez’s first foray into management was turning into a disaster. Lopez was suddenly aggressive and defiant toward Janssen. Worse, the results from a survey Janssen administered indicated that Lopez’s team lacked psychological safety—an important factor in their ability to work together and be successful.
Janssen’s efforts to learn more about the dynamics of Lopez’s team led to three findings. First, Lopez was not taking responsibility for her past actions. Second, Lopez was doing a disproportionate amount of work relative to the rest of her team. Third, Lopez was lying to Janssen about past events. Janssen was faced with the challenge of determining how to persuade Lopez to become a more effective manager and how to increase the morale of the members of Lopez’s team.
This case is intended for use in undergraduate- and graduate-level leadership and human resources courses. After working through the case and assignment questions, students will be able to:
- Understand the importance of emotional intelligence and psychological safety for effective leadership.
- Learn how to assess and improve one’s emotional intelligence.
- Gain knowledge of the challenges involved when transitioning from employee to manager and how to potentially navigate them.
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