You lead a product development team for a company that produces training materials. The team has been working together for about six months to produce a new frontline leadership training program. The team consists of the following individuals, who all report to you:
Judy Sachs, an instructional designer. Judy has been a designer for many years, and with this company for about five. She knows the business inside and out.
Jeremy Links, a writer. Jeremy has a degree in writing but has not conducted training. He has been with this company for a little over a year and this is his second project.
Sheila Lombardo, a writer. Sheila has been writing training materials for about three years and has been a professional writer for about ten years. She has a reputation for being highly efficient and an excellent writer and producer of materials.
Jennifer Snow, a media developer. Jennifer has been with the company for three years, and has ten years of experience developing video, online, and Powerpoint media support for training programs.
The team was originally committed to a deadline that they – and you – were skeptical they could meet. The people in sales were anxious to get the product to market so they could head off a competitor’s new product. Now, as the deadline is approaching, the team is behind schedule. Judy has said openly that if the writers were more experienced at writing training, things would go faster. All four of them are angry for agreeing to an unrealistic deadline in the first place. Jennifer has said that she can’t do her job until Judy, Jeremy, and Sheila do theirs. So, she’ll have to work nights and weekends, and she’s not very happy about that. Sheila and Jeremy both keep working away at their computers without saying much to anyone. In the parking lot one evening, Jeremy said to Sheila, “I think they’re expecting miracles from us. Did you know that Judy has rewritten most of what you and I have done? No wonder it’s taking so long.” Sheila replied, “That witch! I asked her directly if she was reviewing anything we did, and she said ‘no’!” Does our manager know she’s doing this?” “I don’t know,” Jeremy answered, “but I just feel like there’s no way for me to win here – you either. It’s a set-up.”
-Which type(s) of conflict is/are most evident here?
– What should you (the manager) do to make this conflict more productive?