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Managing Interpersonal Relationships

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Managing Interpersonal Relationships


Tim and Bob are architectures working for Glaxo Company. Sven is their manager.

Glaxo Company is involved in the design of new office buildings. Tim and Bob are currently working on the design of a new building; the duration of the project is six months. Despite the amount of time that they spend together on the project they are two very different people and spend very little time outside of the workplace together. Tim is a pedantic perfectionist, he is all about putting 110% effort into his work and he likes to have things done his way. Bob on the other hand is more goal orientated and focuses more on deadlines and completing the work. Despite his laid back personality Bob has a low tolerance for people who interfere overly with his way of doing things. Sven is the manager of 30+ staff including a number of contractors and temporary workers. Although he is a busy and important man who has little free time on his hands, he has taken it upon himself too work closely with Tim and Bob to make sure they meet their deadlines. Through office gossip Sven has heard that Tim and Bob have been having a few disagreements. The three of them are presently in a meeting where Tim and Bob are bringing Sven up to date with the first month progress of the project when conflict arises…

Scene one:

Tim and Bob have just finished going over some figures.

1. Sven: Figures sound good, if you could just leave that report with me I’d like to have a look through it…..also how are the two of you finding it to work together so closely as a team?

2. Tim: Well actually, I’d like to take this opportunity to raise some issues of Bobs work practices.

3. Bob: (Defensively) What do you mean by my work practices..?

4. Tim: Well Bob I just feel as though you are cutting too many corners.

5. Bob: That is NOT true…..I’m the only reason this project is moving along at all.

Sven feeling tension between the two……

6. Sven: Woah…stop right there guys!!! Obviously you have a few issues that need to be resolved and we must resolved them as you two have only been working together on this project for a month. I have an important meeting to go to right now but this afternoon at two o’clock I want you both to come back to my office so we can sort these problems out.

Scene two:

(It’s two o’clock in Sven’s office)

Sven has given considerable thought on how to solve this conflict…

In a calm voice…

7. Sven: Alright fellas. You’re both working on one of our top projects and for this reason you being able to work in a team together is of very high importance to me. I feel a lot of tension between the two of you and have heard through the grape vine that you have been arguing. This kind of behaviour is unprofessional and inappropriate given the task that you’ve been assigned. I don’t feel that we can afford to be wasting time, we have deadlines to meet. I’ve seen this happen before and the effect is bad for you, me and the company in general. Therefore I want to use this next hour to help you sort out your problems and if you cannot come to some sort of conclusion I will intervene. So how about you start, one at a time, by telling me exactly what the problem seems to be… Tim??

8. Tim: This is a big project and I feel that so far Bob has just not been putting in the effort to bring it up to standard. He is cutting corners and letting me bear the brunt of having to go over all the fine details. If the quality of the project keeps being left up to me alone I just don’t know if it’ll be up to the standard that it needs to be.

9. Bob: Tim!!!!! You’re a perfectionist and you just seem to be going over the same thing again and again. If we keep going like this we are never going to be able to meet all our deadlines. Why can’t you be a bit easier to work with in the interest of getting this project finished on time?

10. Sven: Ok, I can see that you’re experiencing a bit of a problem with working together as a team. From what I have seen of your work everything looks fine but I understand that you are both upset. I don’t want this conflict to cause problems that could detract from the quality of your work. I want you to figure something out, right now in front of me, and come to some resolution of your issues.

Tim and Bob spend the next hour discussing their problems with each other. Sven is the mediator. We rejoin them as their discussions

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