boss

Why Was I So Nice To The Punk?

Another update from the Jungle…

Janice feels old and unappreciated. She does her job quietly with little fuss and needs minimal supervision because she’s seen and done it all before. In fact, she manages everything so smoothly that she rarely draws attention.

Janice didn’t mind the lack of acknowledgement for her contributions until a few months ago. That’s when her work space was invaded by a much younger worker, Mercedes.  Mercedes is friendly with a hint of insecurity because she’s learning to do tasks she’s never done before.

Janice remembers joining a new company and being “trained” by an old bat who deliberately omitted key information, hoping Janice would fail. So Janice is happy to pass along tips, hints and advice to help Mercedes learn her job.

But Mercedes is ambitious and her insecurities leave her craving public affirmation of her contributions. She sees everyone, especially Janice, as a threat.  She begins copying their boss on nitpicky emails, asking Janice for information rather than simply asking her verbally. They sit less than five feet apart.

Janice doesn’t say anything because she doesn’t want to sound like a whiner, but she’s rapidly reaching the conclusion that Mercedes is the Wicked Witch of the South. Janice daydreams of teaching Mercedes a real lesson in bureaucratic backstabbing. It all remained a fantasy until today’s staff meeting.

Mercedes is reporting at the staff meeting about a project she inherited from Janice. She drags out her report with lots of “ums” and “uhs,” explaining how she revised the metrics and pulled together all the information. Never once does she acknowledge her debt to Janice who created the whole thing so that Mercedes only had to collate information and do some data entry.

Janice looks at their boss who is smiling at Mercedes like a proud mom watching her clever child successfully finish the school recital. Janice feels the top of her skull evaporating in a mushroom cloud as Mercedes is praised.

What options are available to Janice?

  1. She can spike Mercedes’s protein shake with a laxative before the next staff meeting.
  2. She can create a fake resume showing Mercedes as the most brilliant person since Einstein and mass mail it to every recruiter in the country.
  3. She can recognize that Mercedes is immature and let someone else kick the stuffing out of her (figuratively speaking, of course).

Sometimes, managers are so focused on coaching younger workers for success they forget to acknowledge the contributions of older workers. Building a team means recognizing the contributions of all team members.

If your company is struggling with HR issues, Corporate Compliance Risk Advisor can help you create HR policies that are appropriate for your company’s size and then serve as a resource to your staff as the policies are implemented.

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Now What?

Another update from the Jungle…

Michelle is sitting at her desk, diligently working on a tedious data entry project. Just because it’s a regular part of her duties doesn’t mean that she enjoys doing it. Suddenly, her manager looms into view.

Sam is a pretty good manager, as managers go. Michelle’s had lots worse than him. But he gets fixated on the stupidest things. Last week he decided to change the information that he wants to track in the database she’s working on. As a result of this change, Michelle spent most of the week revising her database to add the new information.

Michelle wasn’t mad about that. She’s worked on projects before where Sam changed his mind about the metrics halfway through the process. She had already set up her database to track the new information Sam wants. What made her mad is that two months ago, when she suggested including this information, Sam dismissed her suggestion without thinking about it.

Michelle really wants to limit her work-related stress because she has plenty of personal drama at home. Her parents are resisting her efforts to move them into an assisted living facility because they think it’s a plot to have them declared mentally incompetent. Her teenage daughter mopes that her life is blighted forever because Michelle refused to let her attend a party hosted by a classmate while the classmate’s parents were out of town.

But it’s a new week. Michelle is sitting at her desk, drinking a double espresso, waiting for the caffeine to kick in. Suddenly, Sam pops up at her elbow. He says that an email she sent yesterday contained erroneous information.

Michelle asks if Sam wants her to send another email correcting her earlier one. No, he says, that’s not necessary because it doesn’t really matter. He just wants to be sure she knows that she made a mistake. Michelle stares blankly at Sam, calculating the consequences to her career if she tries to brain him with a laptop computer.

What should Michelle do next?

  1. She can give in to her impulse to brain her manager with a laptop computer and damn the consequences.
  2. She can plan a vacation on a deserted island to get away from work and family annoyances.
  3. She can ignore her manager’s nitpicking criticisms as her co-workers do.

Workplace relationships are often our longest lasting human interactions aside from our families. As with families, annoying habits disrupt our working relationships. HR can help by ensuring that new hires and existing employees are a good “fit” for the team.

If your company is struggling with HR issues, Corporate Compliance Risk Advisor can help you create HR policies that are appropriate for your company’s size and then serve as a resource to your staff as the policies are implemented.

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They Think He’s Great

Another update from the Jungle…..

Jason is the greatest asset to his company since it was founded decades ago. At least, that’s what he believes. He’s always the first to volunteer to help the team, and he smiles at even the lamest jokes told by the boss. He absolutely oozes sympathy for co-workers going through a rough patch.

The bosses also think that Jason is wonderful. At almost every staff meeting, the head honcho thanks Jason for helping out on something or other. No one ever asks his peers how they feel about Jason.

His peers agree that Jason is always the first to volunteer, especially if the boss is within sight and sound. Yet somehow, Jason never works up a sweat. At the last volunteer day, filling food baskets at the local food bank, Jason was seen chatting with the food bank’s executive director. Meanwhile, his colleagues were slinging cases of canned goods around the warehouse.

As for sympathy, Katie curls her lip at the very idea of Jason caring about others. Katie notices that Jason’s kind words feel empty and insincere, not even skin-deep. When Katie’s goldfish died, Jason stopped by her desk, looked at the dead fish, and said “Sorry, Charlie, you’re not the king of the sea anymore”.

Jason’s always making snarky comments like that. He said he liked Angela’s suggestion to implement a flex-work schedule because he could use an extra day off to improve his golf game. He bragged appreciatively about getting a gift card to Sonic drive-in after winning a trivia contest during the annual employee appreciation day.

Katie thinks Jason is a selfish pig who says whatever he needs to say to win brownie points with the boss. At today’s staff meeting, the boss enthusiastically announced a friendly contest to guess who will win the World Series. Katie couldn’t care less about baseball and declines to participate. Of course, Jason is front and center, bantering with the boss about which team to support.

What are Katie’s options?

  1. She can slap the smarmy smile off Jason’s face.
  2. She can ignore Jason and the boss as they engage in a mutual admiration society.
  3. She can focus her energies on improving her skills to move to a different department or a new employer.

Every work place has a Jason who plays the game to get promoted or avoid having to work too hard. HR can reduce the effects of these types of morale killers by creating performance metrics that rely on data rather than the subjective opinions of a manager.

If your company is struggling with HR issues, Corporate Compliance Risk Advisor can help you create HR policies that are appropriate for your company’s size and then serve as a resource to your staff as the policies are implemented.

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When Crazy People Collide

Another update from the Jungle…..

Rick is a nut. Everyone knows that he’s a nut. He’s also the founder of the company. Marie is becoming a nut, trying to limit the damage he creates. She’s the HR representative for the company. Being the HR rep for a nut is a very difficult job.

Rick says he likes to “go with his gut,” leading to impulsive decisions, like changing the company’s vision statement and branding every couple of months. But his craziest decision was hiring Jack as the operations manager. Jack has no management skills and spends most of his time preening in front of the mirror in his office or chatting to the most impressionable females in the office.

Soon, Jack begins to think he actually knows how to do his job and pushes his ideas for improving productivity. His ego expands to fill the room which doesn’t leave enough space for Rick’s ego. Staff meetings are now a minefield with Rick sniping at Jack and Jack making snarky comments. As Rick and Jack compete to win every argument, co-workers compete to stay closest to the door to escape ground zero when the egomaniacs go nuclear.

The end of Jack arrives swiftly and brutally. At this morning’s staff meeting, he disagrees with Rick on the new design for the company logo. Rick is outraged because he designed the new logo. He roars that Jack is disloyal. Jack replies that Rick is crazy, causing Rick to froth at the mouth with rage. Rick leaps across the table to throttle Jack.  Jack swings a fist at Rick’s jaw, misses and sprawls on the conference room table.

Co-workers flee for their lives. Behind them in the conference room, Rick screams “you’re fired!” as Jack bellows “I quit!” Marie is the only employee remaining in the room with them. She empties a pitcher of water on them to interrupt their fight before they can break the furniture. Now, Marie is completing the termination paperwork for Jack, who is whining about the unfairness of the world and Rick’s insanity.

What should Marie do next?

  1. She should include directions to the nearest liquor store in her exit interview, so Jack can quickly drown his sorrows on his way to the unemployment line.
  2. She should consider changing careers to something less stressful, like bronco rider or high-school teacher.
  3. She should give Jack some career advice on how to disagree with the nut in charge.

Some workplace problems simply can’t be fixed by HR staff. Employees who work for a nut must decide whether to continue working for the company or to leave for greener pastures.

If your company is struggling with HR issues, Corporate Compliance Risk Advisor can help you create HR policies that are appropriate for your company’s size and then serve as a resource to your staff as the policies are implemented.

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Why Did You Leave Your Last Job?

Another update from the Jungle….

Danny is interviewing for a new job, and the question he dreads most has just been asked. Why did he leave his last job?  Danny stares at the in-house recruiter of his prospective employer and thinks back to his former job.

Danny is a young salesman, bright and energetic. He was hired straight out of college into his dream job. He thought his former boss, Sam, was his friend because they talked about sports when they weren’t talking about business.

They often hung out at a sports bar after work watching sports events.  They also called and texted each other about games they were watching during the weekend. Unfortunately, Danny hadn’t made the mental transition from college buddies to business colleagues.

He learned this hard lesson during March Madness.  Danny hosted a party for some of his college frat brothers. Since he was hosting his own party, he couldn’t attend Sam’s party for colleagues and clients.

As the game progressed, Danny called Sam to discuss the latest score and joke about some of the action. But Danny was drinking heavily and jokes that amuse frat brothers don’t necessarily amuse a boss, particularly a boss trying to entertain his own guests.  After the tenth call in as many minutes, Sam ordered Danny to not call him again. Danny laughed drunkenly and agreed. A few minutes later, he called Sam again. Sam hung up and turned off his phone.

The next day, Danny was met at the office by an HR rep who explained that getting drunk and making harassing phone calls to a boss was inappropriate. She informed Danny that he could resign and receive a severance package or he could be fired.  Danny chose the first option and returned home to nurse his hangover.

This sorry sequence of events flits through Danny’s mind as he stares at the in-house recruiter. What are Danny’s options?

  1. He can admit that he got drunk, showed poor judgment, and was invited to be successful elsewhere.
  2. He can trash his former employer as a rotten place to work.
  3. He can say that his former employer wasn’t a good “fit” or that he is looking for a new challenge.

In the actual situation, the young employee was given a few coaching tips during his exit interview, regarding appropriate behavior outside the office.  It’s always a good idea to add a segment in the on-boarding process to remind new hires that what they do on their own time can negatively affect their employment.

If your company is struggling with HR issues, Corporate Compliance Risk Advisor can help you create HR policies that are appropriate for your company’s size and then serve as a resource to your staff as the policies are implemented.

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The Micromanager

Another update from the jungle…

MicroMan 1Sarah joined the company as an experienced lateral hire.  She was attracted to the company after they offered her a chance to use her diverse experience. Sarah likes variety because she’s easily bored by routine. She bailed out of several previous jobs when they became boring.  Now she does all the special projects for her new employer and each day offers a new challenge. She likes everything about her job except her boss, Dean.

Dean is the second most dreaded type of boss: the micromanager.  The most dreadful managerial sort, of course, is the psycho boss.  Dean can’t just assign a project to Sarah. He spends half an hour explaining in detail how he would complete the project. Then he tells Sarah to use her own judgment.

Sarah has high personal standards which require her to thoroughly research an issue before making recommendations. She is also a perfectionist and agonizes over each memo and report to ensure that the information is accurate and the words are clear and concise.  Then Dean ruins it.MicroMan 2

As her boss, Dean wants to see Sarah’s written memos and reports before they are sent on to the senior management team. Sarah understands the need for quality control but he’s a micromanager and he can’t resist meddling.  His review of her first report for the higher ups resulted in a sea of red ink. Dean had revised the entire report.

Sarah stared at her destroyed sentences and asked Dean why he had changed it. He said he thought it read better with the changes. Sarah pointed out that all the changes were stylistic. Essentially, he had re-written her report to reflect his more verbose style of writing. Dean smiled and assured Sarah that things would change as he became familiar with the quality of her work.

Of course, nothing changes. As the months pass, Sarah’s frustration grows. She daydreams of beating Dean senseless with his own laptop computer or forcing him to listen to rap music.  She discreetly asks the HR director to transfer her to a different manager but is told such a move is impossible.

What options are available to Sarah?

  1. She can continue hoping that Dean’s management style will change.
  2. She can continue objecting to Dean’s management style, which is contributing to a perception that she’s bitchy and not a team player.
  3. She can do the minimum necessary to earn her paycheck while she looks for another employer.

In the actual situation, the subordinate eventually found a new employer where her new boss wasn’t a micromanager.

 

If your company is struggling with HR issues, Corporate Compliance Risk Advisor can help you create HR policies that are appropriate for your company’s size and then serve as a resource to your staff as the policies are implemented.

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Psycho Boss

Another update from the Jungle….
Sue hates her job because she works for a psycho. Sue was transferred into the psycho’s
department during a company-wide reorganization about six months ago and life’s gone steadily
image031downhill since.

Sue’s psycho boss loves to assign multiple projects with the same deadline, which pretty much guarantees that something won’t be done on time. During the first month, Sue asked which project should be given priority and psycho boss always responded that the projects were equally important. So Sue stopped asking about prioritizing the workload. Of course, psycho boss blames Sue when deadlines are missed.

Refusing to establish priorities is just a symptom of psycho boss’ favorite management technique. Psycho boss refuses to make decisions because she’s afraid to take responsibility. But she won’t allow her subordinates to make any decisions without her input.
image035Last month, Sue decided to fight back. She bought a doll that she treats as her boss’ avatar. Each evening, she sticks pins in the doll and wishes psycho boss would vanish. So far the doll looks like a pin cushion but the bad juju hasn’t worked because Sue still works for the psycho.

Sue knows that senior management is aware of psycho boss’ management deficiencies. But she also knows that they won’t take any action as long as the work is done and the grumbling doesn’t flare into an open revolt. After all, senior management doesn’t want to admit they made a mistake by promoting psycho boss in the first place.

Yesterday, psycho boss called Sue into her office to accuse Sue of incompetence. When Sue asked for specific examples based on her work, psycho boss started yelling and cursing, accusing Sue of insubordination. Now Sue is sitting at home, sticking pins in the doll and considering her options.

What are Sue’s options?

  1. She can take an advanced course in black magic and hope it works better than the juju doll.
  2. She can complain to HR about psycho boss’ unprofessional behavior (yelling and cursing) and request that an HR rep attend future meetings between Sue and psycho boss to serve as a witness.
  3. She can look for another job either within the company or with another employer.

In the actual situation, the company reorganized their departments again and psycho boss lost supervisory authority in the changes. So in a weird way the juju doll worked because psycho boss vanished.

If your company is struggling with HR issues, Corporate Compliance Risk Advisor can help you create HR policies that are appropriate for your company’s size and then serve as a resource to your staff as the policies are implemented.

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