The Nice Guy Essay

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Case Analysis: The Nice Guy


This case study begins with Paul Kennedy on a slow morning commute in Cleveland. During his drive, he’s worried about his wife and family, his boss, his associate, a stranger in a nearby vehicle, and even about the state of the Cleveland Browns. He is also excited about his plans to expand Daner Associates into the European market and his impending promotion to CEO. But when Paul meets with his boss, Larry, that afternoon, he discovers that he has been misreading signals. Larry is actually considering Paul for the number two role in the company and considering promoting another Daner executive, George, into the CEO position.


Paul has been with Daner Associates for ten
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In his interactions with Larry, it seems that Paul has been hearing only what he wants to hear.

Paul has apparently misread Larry’s intentions, resulting in misaligned expectations. Paul and Larry have very different leadership styles and attitudes on people management. This disparity in their styles is a core part of their communications issues. Paul’s self-referent criteria have prevented him from effectively listening to what Larry has been telling him about his leadership skills and potential to be promoted to CEO. It seems that George has an advantage over Paul in being able to relate easily to Larry. Larry and George have a similar philosophy on people management, which gives George an advantage on effective communications with Larry. Larry immediately empathizes with George’s perspective, because it is similar to his own. This puts the onus on Paul to get outside of his own frame of reference to examine himself from Larry’s perspective.

The nice-guy disorder is having a negative effect on Paul’s ability to make choices. His decision-making ability is impaired when he gives away his power to others, including George and Larry, denying his own goals and desires. When he feels strongly about an issue, as he does in the case of breaking into
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