Grabbing the Nettle

August 24, 2007 at 9:51 am Leave a comment

He was a manager of a fairly large department – approximately 30 people – organized in a large open office environment. His people problem du jour was a woman situated right in the centre of this office space.

The lady was going through some personal problems with her spouse and from time to time during the day she’d get into a knock down, take no prisoners, hollering match on the phone. When this happened the other workers would immediately have nicotine cravings, bowel discomforts, an urge to eat, faked heart attacks – anything to get them out of the blast zone.

Here’s the question posed by the manager…

Without confronting her, how do I solve this problem?

It’s at times like this, that it’s easy to offer great insight… the noisy employee isn’t the most pressing problem needing fixing in that office.

Management is about managing. There’s a deep insight. No need to invest in an MBA folks, all the wisdom you need is right here. Yet… the above scenario, sans some of the embellishments, is a real one. And it’s one that’s symptomatic of many management problems and conundrums. We lack the courage, (or is it the ability?), to address issues head on. We want to sneak around them, to solve things without getting our hands dirty. We want silver bullets and iron clad guarantees.

Management doesn’t work that way. Never has. Never will. Management involves telling someone in no uncertain terms that certain bahaviours are inappropriate. No – you can’t come in late every day. Yes, you must perform your assigned tasks to the best of your abililty.

And no – I won’t insult the reader by laying out a solution to the noisy employee problem. If you have a head on your shoulders – you know the answer.

Illegitimus non carborundum

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Entry filed under: Management, Managing.

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