The title for today kind of speaks for itself. 10 days into the bully tracker and I’ve noted not only that the pattern of behavior does exist, but also that the rate of increase seems to indicate an exponential regression in the behavior of the worker. To keep things equitable, I opted for the use of the performance tracker sheet, since it creates the appearance that I’m tracking the behavior of everyone equitably rather than singling out one specific person. We’d had a similar regression in accountability since I elected to minimize my involvement in the management of the newest batch of senior level workers, and an increase in client complaints as a result. It’s been a rather interesting development.
I can honestly say that I experience no joy from these regressions in performance behavior. Even though I now have evidence that there is a direct correlation between my level of involvement and the successful performance of our team, I am still perceived to be liable by our clients, so a lose for them also is my loss as well. And probably even more so, not just due to the ethical conundrum harboring resentment would bring, but also because there are numerous occasion in which I am one of the couple (sometimes only) one in the building, so poor performance negates the efforts we’ve invested in building a competent and cohesive team. Even though my workers and patrons know I have no REAL authority, I liked when they attributed our success to some of the contributions I bring. But once I lose that reputability, I lose their confidence in me. I suppose for now I should be grateful that I do have a strong enough rapport with (the vast majority) my workers to persuade them assist others when those services are needed. So you can imagine how distressing it can be to turn people away, and send them on a wild goose chase around the building or to refer them to the designated person within the facility who I know isn’t going to be accessible, because we can’t come to an agreement about how our workers should be managed, and it reflects poorly on all of us in the organization when we’re supposed to be sharing accountability as a team.
I don’t want someone who refuses to learn our sales and insurance policies to be handling transactions or contracts when they can’t even learn how to follow basic instructions or feels entitled to ignore our policies. Today’s outburst came after the worker asked me for assistance regarding pricing while working with some new clients. Before I could even respond to her question she interrupted, so I went back to what I was doing. Then she asked me for some other piece of information that she didn’t know, but is responsible for knowing, asked for my input and then snapped at me when I clarified the policy. Exhausted from it all, I simply ignored the behavior with an apologetic glance and clarified the policy using the precautionary words, “it was my understanding that …” so that at the very least she could save face over her ignorance of our policies. Then she processed the payment from one of the clients and I had to intervene this time to ask whether she had remembered to write out a receipt. I knew she hadn’t because I was standing off to the side after I handed her the receipt book.
Then she just kind of shut down, got incredibly pissy and forcefully tried to reach through me, while exclaiming in a fairly aggressive tone “exCUSE ME…!” and I leapt out of the way as she put the receipt book back into the drawer, which was on the other side of me. Oh I was livid. And we had quite a bit of an audience.
This is how I rationally responded to the situation (thank GOD that’s my go-to)!
This is how I WISH I could have responded, but it would probably get me fired and thankfully isn’t really even LIKE me…
I bit my tongue (honestly, it was hard); I took a deep breath and excused myself (Thank goodness for me I’ve been watching a lot of British television lately, so I don’t feel quite as ashamed of exercising restraint because I can now better visualize how to do so in a way that conveys grace and dignity). Then I joined another group of workers and inquired about one of their shoes, which turned out to be new, to avoid escalating the situation any further. A few moments later, the crabby worker disappeared. She was gone for 10 minutes so I went back to my desk since our station had been abandoned. She came back later asking me whether I’d seen her phone, which she immediately found among her personal belongings. I asked her where she’d gotten her dress and I thought that was the end of it. Then it happened again. So I left her there.
When I returned, another worker who had seen everything and I began a discussion about power differentials. It was one of those discussions that you have with a person when you’re trying to figure out a safe way to talk about it, but NOT talk about it. I think she just wanted to make sure I was okay, and I have a lot of discussions with my workers about neuro-cognitive behavior and leadership dynamics, when we want to address issues publicly without singling any specific people out. It appeared that she and another worker who had witnessed what happened, had discussed the topic recently when they worked together over the weekend. The feminine worker was standing at the bottom of a flight of stairs and the masculine worker stood a few stairs above her, which made her uncomfortable. They were reminded of the discussion once I left my desk area and stood next to the worker I’d asked about her shoes, who had been sitting.
I was relieved to understand that she’d actually shifted the discussion to some other oversight of mine, of which I had the ability to recognize and correct. I admitted that I hadn’t actually been sensitive to that. I just was beginning to feel a little claustrophobic and for some reason I gravitated toward that person because we were from roughly the same area, so I must have subconsciously associated that person with home and safety. Then when the grumpy worker returned, I left with the new worker, I regaled her with a story about a ridiculous article I had read and then found another task to complete somewhere else in the building.