Another update from the Jungle….
Jerry feels besieged and overloaded. He’s the CEO and he ought to be bragging about his business. Instead, he’s hiding in his office while he decides what to do next.
It all started a couple of months ago when two supervisors had a misunderstanding. Brown nosing Bette and motormouth Mike thought the other was responsible for losing a key customer. Their last face to face meeting degenerated into a yelling, name-calling mess where coffee cups were hurled across the table and a cheese Danish was smashed into the face of Bette’s assistant. Now they communicate strictly by email.
Since they’re supervisors, they’ve managed to drag their respective subordinates into the fight. Soon everyone is communicating via emails that are full of adjectives more appropriate to the schoolyard or a political campaign. Their subordinates don’t even use the same bathrooms anymore to avoid talking face to face.
Jerry doesn’t notice any of the fighting. He’s busy talking to investors that he needs to finance a new product. Besides, he’s the CEO and people talk differently to him. His first inkling that all is not well is when several customers switch to competitors rather than renewing their contracts.
Jerry asks brown nosing Bette why the heck her team of salespeople let the customers get away. She blames motor mouth Mike’s technical team for not answering questions about the products which meant her team couldn’t answer customer questions. Jerry asks Mike what’s going on and he blames Bette’s team of dunces.
Jerry asks the HR manager, Liz, if she’s heard any complaints from co-workers about Bette and Mike. Liz admits she has. Jerry asks why the heck she didn’t tell him. Liz is hurt; she’s doing her best.
Liz shows him a series of email exchanges and that’s when Jerry learns the awful truth about Bette and Mike. He can feel the top of his skull popping off as his blood pressure rises. Now he’s sitting in his office trying to decide what to do.
What options are available to Jerry?
- He can fire Bette and Mike for showing the emotional development of pre-teens.
- He can empty the corporate bank account and “retire” to the Cayman Islands to drink rum.
- He can counsel Bette and Mike to act like grownups and work together for the company.
In the actual situation, the employer chose the third option. The employer’s decision was based on an assessment of the supervisors’ capabilities and skills. The employer also needed to follow the company’s progressive discipline policy before firing employees.
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