Case 15: Don’t Let Her Get Behind You
77
Case 15 (continued)
Case Discussion:
Don’t Let Her Get Behind You
Summary: Part 1—Making Adjustments—NOT!
For about a year, Lynecia Jackson had supervised four secretaries who served the three depart-
ments within the Administrative Support Division of the Monumental Services Corporation.
During that time, she had run into a major problem in the form of Betty Rolander, 28, who had
been with Monumental for almost six years in various secretarial positions.
Lynecia was bothered by Betty’s arrogant and abrasive manner of dealing with other people.
When looking through her personnel file, Lynecia discovered that Betty’s previous managers had
had similar concerns, although no one had taken strong action.
Lynecia traced her problem back to the company reorganization that had taken place about a
year ago. At that time, the centralized secretarial support system in the Headquarter building had
been replaced by a decentralized system. The previous system had been managed by Helen
Mahan. Betty worked for Helen and became a loyal fan of hers. When the company reorganized,
Helen was made a department manager, becoming Lynecia’s boss, and Betty then began working
for Lynecia. Subsequently, the working relationship between Lynecia and Betty had gone down-
hill.
One day, Lynecia received a call from Neal Coleman, an executive vice president, who com-
plained about the insulting way Betty had spoken to his secretary on the phone that morning.
Lynecia called Betty into her office and admonished her for speaking rudely to Neal’s secretary.
The discussion was argumentative and unproductive.
Answers to Case Question
1. How should Lynecia have responded to the complaint from Neal Coleman?
Lynecia should have apologized to Neal Coleman and indicated that she would look into the prob-
lem immediately. She should have called Miriam to apologize and hear directly from her wha
t
happened. She next should have asked Betty to describe how she remembered the conversation.
Assuming that the complaint against Betty was well-founded, Lynecia should have given her feed-
back on what exactly she did that created problems.
She also should have restated the standards of appropriate phone courtesy. It would be accept-
able to have Betty call Neal Coleman’s secretary to apologize, thus reinforcing the importance
of courtesy. Lynecia may or may not want to be present during that conversation. Lynecia
should also make a note or memo of this conversation and keep it in a working file.

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