Growing Managers: Moving From Team Member to Team Leader Harvard Case Solution & Analysis

Mindset of Melissa Richardson as a Manager

As a manager, Melissa Richardson was very confident and was very positive about her new job and co-workers. She had different motivational plans for her team members such as Friday pizza lunches and ice cream cart celebrations. She wanted to have a proper and formal setup at the office so that she could complete all the paperwork and other tasks in time. She was an extrinsically motivated and highly confident to build smooth relationship with her team which was reflected in her attitude. On the way to Phoenix to Chicago, she listened Spanish language tapes because most of the people at ColorTech were local and were communicating in Spanish with each other. She was very devoted and contagious towards her team and a good example of her proficiency could be seen in the first week. In the first week, she organized individual meetings with her team members so that she could better know her team members to build positive and strong relations with them individually. She also took the initiative in the Columbian greenhouse fungus disaster and had sought for an effective solution and at the end she made calls to customers personally. When one of their regional buyers for Home Depot pointed out the use of wrong pots, Richardson once again took the initiative and gathered the team members to change them on Saturday. This was a great initiative towards team building but unfortunately, nothing did work and she was left frustrated and disappointed. At each level, she struggled to motivate the team towards a shared goal, but the attitude of her team was very disappointing and lack of experience as a sales manager made it more difficult for her to respond effectively.

Key Alternatives for Melissa Richardson

Although, the situation was very frustrating but it could be solved by using appropriate alternatives.

Build fix/loyal Customers

ColorTech was facing a tough competition and the ineffectiveness of the workers at the Phoenix office further worsened the situation. At this moment, Richardson should suggest the management of ColorTech to cut the prices and should offer their products at a lower price for the competition. This would attract customers towards them and would allow them to build a strong base of clientele. However, this would be a bit difficult for Richardson to do because she was new and her boss was not very cooperative. This could create further issues for her.

Deal Everyone According to their Mindset

Everyone at the Phoenix office had their own mindset and to control and motivate them successfully, Richardson was required to deal them accordingly. Hence, she should organize individual meetings with them once a week and should communicate with them according to their level. For example, Alex Hoffman was not accepting Richardson as a manager because he assumed that he was more suitable for the position. Richardson should get an advantage of this mindset and should treat Alex as the most important and efficient member of the office, she should ask him for help in different tasks and should ensure him that she could not complete such a task without his coordination. This would increase his efficiency and would break his dismissive attitude. Similarly to deal with Peterson, Richardson should convince her that she could be a good fit for the position as a salesperson, but to achieve her desired position she needs to improve her performance so that she could easily recommend her when a position opens. This would compel her to work hard and her performance would improve automatically which would ultimately enhance the performance of ColorTech..

Clarify goals and set Objectives

At many points it seemed that the workforce at Phoenix office was not clear about their job and they had no predetermined goals and objectives. Richardson should set clear goals and objectives for each of the members and should enforce them to achieve those goals. She should discuss such goals with her boss, Beth Campbell in order to avoid any sort of future objection from her teammates. Richardson should set realistic goals so that her team members could easily achieve them.

Improve Communication

Richardson should improve communication with her team members and should eliminate all types of doubts from their minds. She should try to adopt an informal attitude towards her team members, but in an authoritative and well maintained manner. She should discuss one’s success with others to encourage them and should also try to learn Spanish by speaking Spanish words with her team members.

Setting Motivational Model

The most effective motivational models that would fit effectively in the situation experienced by Richardson would be behavior changing models. There were lots of opportunities available to the team members at ColorTech but they were not ready to work effectively or work in a formal way. Richardson should first understand the dark and bright sides of their personality or in other words she should first assess the strengths and weaknesses of her teammates. After understanding their strengths and weaknesses; Richardson should move to a goal-setting model..................................

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