Getting to know Marie – Who is she?

// What’s in it for me? – Context and basic situation: the transition from co-worker to manager //


Marie is 28 years old, works in sales and distribution and is considered a great talent. She is quick to grasp new ideas and able to think outside the box. She likes to try out new things and she is prepared to take a risk. Her social competence and readiness to cooperate with others are well known beyond her own department. She has extensive expert knowledge in her field and gets along very well with her colleagues and her supervisor Lukas. Everything appears to go well for Marie and her future is looking bright. Or so it seems.

The department is faced with a major task from the very top. Sales must be increased by 10% within the next year. The department must grow and new staff needs to be hired as quickly as possible. Marie is about to become the manager of a team. She sees this as a great honour, especially since it will make her one of the youngest managers inside the company. Years of hard work and dedication finally pay off. A dream comes true for her.

Marie happily accepts her supervisor’s offer and is eager to give her very best. Her new team includes five members – one new co-worker and four of her former peers. However, when Marie is announced as their new manager, the team’s response is far from enthusiastic. This is due to the fact that her former peers have been with the company longer than she has – and they are all older than her.

The first few weeks don’t go as planned and Marie’s initial enthusiasm is all but gone. She wants to excel in her job and often comes close to reaching her personal stress breaking point. She works long hours inside the office and keeps taking home a lot of work. Her weekly yoga sessions no longer relax her and going running early in the morning no longer helps her clear her mind.

The situation with her subordinates (who used to be her co-workers) is tense. Again and again she feels personally attacked and sometimes reacts in an emotional way. Work keeps piling up on her desk and previously assigned tasks keep coming back to her. In short, her team doesn’t live up to her expectations.

Marie’s supervisor Lukas doesn’t fail to notice her strain and her darkening mood. One evening, while on his way home, he sees the lights still on in Marie’s office. He wants to talk to her. And talk she does – without pausing for breath. Details of all the hardships experienced over the past weeks burst forth from her. Lukas is worried about her. He doesn’t want to lose her as an employee. Following a lengthy discussion, he encourages Marie to participate in a management training in order to help her overcome the challenges of her new position. He promises to support her. Marie embraces his offer as a good and helpful input. So she agrees and finally walks home, relieved and – for the first time in weeks – without any extra work waiting for her.

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