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PETS+ Latest Real Deal Scenario

The Case of the Wannabe Boss

When a team member continues to overstep, Lisa must decide whether to let her go or to embrace the initiative.


Lisa’s management style encouraged staff to offer ideas that could potentially grow her store’s customer base and/or help the business run more smoothly. She held monthly team meetings, during which she shared procedure updates and new product information, and staff offered suggestions for upcoming events and feedback on day-to-day operations. (Plus there were snacks … always snacks). Encouraging communication between team members, there was also a group chat for exchanging ideas and info between meetings.

A staff handbook covered opening/closing routines, inventory management, POS system support, and directions on stocking, cleaning and other tasks for when the store wasn’t busy. Lisa allowed team members to switch work dates or hours with each other as long as the store was covered. She also delegated special tasks to interested staff.

In Lisa’s mind, this was a good way to run her team: Set guidelines and expectations, but also encourage staff to invest in the business’s success and to self-manage in certain areas.

Kathy, one of Lisa’s newest team members, was quite vocal about loving her job at the busy pet store. Possessing a vast personal knowledge of raw feeding and an eagerness to learn even more about what to feed her own pack, Kathy had seemed like a perfect hire. Outgoing and friendly, she enjoyed sharing her knowledge and answering questions from customers.

Already Kathy was expressing an interest in management. She also had vocalized her desire to buy the business one day. While Lisa welcomed enthusiasm and ideas, some of Kathy’s suggestions were overly presumptuous and downright pushy. Lisa was beginning to lose her patience. Kathy was overstepping, and other team members were becoming suspicious and irritated.

During a staff meeting, Kathy volunteered to do all of the ongoing tasks for Facebook, the website and newsletter. Lisa assigned her to only one. On another occasion, Kathy insisted she knew a much better system to reorder products because her husband managed an office-supply store. While Lisa was on vacation, Kathy switched the store’s music to her own favorite radio station (one that didn’t play the store’s radio advertisements). Kathy also rearranged a seasonal display assigned to another team member because she had a “better” idea.

Believing customers would like them, Kathy added six SKUs of new tripe treats to a distributor order without approval. Deciding the staff work schedule needed revamping, “helpful” Kathy handed Lisa a new staff work calendar she’d created at home. Kathy also eagerly pointed out to Lisa when daily cleaning and restocking tasks hadn’t been completed by other team members.

On the Saturday before the store’s anniversary event, Lisa walked in to find a team member printing out copies of a coloring page. Lisa asked him about it. Kathy piped up, “He’s making coloring pages for the kids who attend our anniversary event. We’re setting up a coloring table. Isn’t that fun?” The activity had not been discussed during planning of the event. In fact, with the volume of customers expected, there wouldn’t even be space for a coloring table.

Lisa regularly gave Kathy feedback about gaining approval before implementing her ideas, but Kathy continued to overstep. Lisa had had enough.



  • Should Lisa fire Kathy?
  • Or embrace Kathy’s initiative by promoting her to a management role?
  • Or better set boundaries? How might she do that?


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