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Thread: mental organization and relationships

  1. #1
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    mental organization and relationships

    This is coming up a lot lately in different areas. I work really hard at mental organization so I know it is a challenge, however I think sometimes I don't know what is supportive of me and what is supportive of others. Here are the areas it is coming up,

    * my oldest is excellent at her job, just earned a trip to the grand canyon! She is one of the top in her job. Meanwhile she has not had a functioning kitchen sink in almost a year, sounds like let her license expire, and couldn't come over for dinner because she was so behind on essential housework (she does laundry at her boyfriend's mother's place but still only lives a half mile from me). Some of this does not affect me at all, and we just roll with the things that do affect the rest of us. Still as a mom you always want to help them
    * my staff, one after 6 years still tends to lose track if I don't schedule everything for her. I see over the years she goes from really on top of things to checking out, she also has a learning disability she has shared with me and has been sick on and off.
    * my other staff is being checked by the DR, I told her that she is having issues she did not have a year ago with forgetting and confusion as a support to see her DR.
    * my awesome staff has not been checking for clean up before he leaves, so I am coming into balls left in the gym or the cafeteria still having trash. There are 3 people in that room at closing! This is the 3rd week I am bringing it up in our staff meeting.
    * my boss, enough said, I am copying his supervisor in on most emails at this point because he is not consistently remembering things or telling me the same information.

    So how supportive to be? I can at least not take it personally, but I have a hard time with my expectations that I don't have to remind people about things. Every payroll is a challenge with people not clocking in or writing it down. I gave them a list 3 days before the due date and if they can't tell me their hours then I can't pay them for it. We can catch it up the next time. I want to just switch to accountability, however I also want to work with being supportive. Seriously all these people have a learning disability, ADD or are seeing a DR,

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    I had a supervisor once who, when I forgot to clock in, said, "Sucks to be you." She did fix my error later but I was more careful after that.

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    Yppej,

    You gave an interesting example of a response that I would call task-oriented management. You made a mistake. Your supervisor did not encourage your team to learn from it. Rather, she added to your anxieties with a sarcastic comment. Thus, she punished a specific mistake. Later she fixed it. It is as though the the goals and standards of the organization were more important to your supervisor than your needs for esteem, at least until your supervisor believed you had learned your lesson.

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    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    I think the first thing to do is to determine how important these expectations/requirements truly are. Completing time sheets to get paid? Big deal. DD missing dinner because she's behind on chores? Poor planning, maybe; rude to give late notice, perhaps, but there are other weeks.

    I think the second thing to do is to practice a little "tough love". All of these folks sound like they can live fairly independently, despite claims of "learning disabilities" or ADHD. As a supervisor, your job is to make sure that staff members understand that work requires some things be done in specific ways at specific times and that not doing those tasks has (clearly-spelled-out) consequences.

    If these folks can hold down a paid job, they can fill out a time sheet when it's due. "Forgot" to submit a time sheet? I've supervised enough people to know it happens and it does screw up accounting. But, when it's chronic, staff's failure to remember should not result in continual extra work for you. As Yppej suggests, not getting paid that time period will help that problem fix itself. Want to remind your staff of an unusual pay-period end date? Fine. But it should not be a regular "thing".

    The situation with DD letting her license lapse is similar -- having it benefits her; losing it should have consequences for her, not you (including time spent worrying about it). If she's in a time jam and needs someone to do some physical running around to renew it, you could offer to help -- once. But, otherwise, it's a responsibility of keeping her job. It should rise high enough in her to-do list to be handled on time. And it should not be something that preoccupies you.

    As for cleanup, if you've already designated a staff person to make sure it gets done, then it not getting done routinely should be noted as at least an "area for improvement" (if not a deficiency) when you sit down with them for a performance evaluation. That's the responsibility; this is what happens when the accountable person does not make sure it's done.

    I'm not saying you should never be supportive. Kindness in the workplace is important, too. If you see someone whose organizational skills are declining, you're doing them a service to point it out privately. But I don't think you should be putting a lot of your energy into compensating for people repeatedly. That compensation does not clearly illustrate their responsibilities and it adds more to your already-burdened to-do list.
    Last edited by SteveinMN; 11-15-17 at 12:30pm.
    If Americans expended even a fraction of the energy on civic engagement that we spend on consumer ideology, our democracy would be much healthier. Can you imagine people camping out to vote? -- Charles Roberts, Amherst, Mass., Nov. 25, 2006

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    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dado potato View Post
    You gave an interesting example of a response that I would call task-oriented management. You made a mistake. Your supervisor did not encourage your team to learn from it.
    Of course, we don't know any more about the incident than Yppej wrote. But I don't know as an individual mistake should have become a "team learning" opportunity. I spent far too long in business environments in which policy was created in part by extrapolating one or two persons' bad behavior into new workplace rules. That kind of thing makes some sense with serious lapses like sexual or racial harassment; it's less useful (and applicable) when the "failure" affects only the person who didn't do what they were supposed to. Too often that kind of groupthink replaces supervisors actually doing the job of dealing with employees who are not doing their job.

    Quote Originally Posted by dado potato View Post
    Rather, she added to your anxieties with a sarcastic comment. Thus, she punished a specific mistake. Later she fixed it. It is as though the the goals and standards of the organization were more important to your supervisor than your needs for esteem, at least until your supervisor believed you had learned your lesson.
    Again, without knowing the dynamics, it's hard to discuss this. I've had a few supervisors with whom my relationship was strong enough that I could have had that conversation; the "sucks to be you" response would have served as a mild rebuke but not perceived as any kind of threat.

    Maybe I've just worked my entire career at horrible places, but every place I've worked, "the goals and standards of the organization were more important to your supervisor than your needs for esteem". I was almost always one of several "reports" and, while I was rarely treated abusively, it was always made clear to me that if I didn't like the rules or the organization's goals, I was free to leave. I think I might have liked working someplace where that atmosphere was different.
    If Americans expended even a fraction of the energy on civic engagement that we spend on consumer ideology, our democracy would be much healthier. Can you imagine people camping out to vote? -- Charles Roberts, Amherst, Mass., Nov. 25, 2006

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    I agree with Steve in both his posts. Time for your employees to grow up.

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    Thanks all, we had a better day yesterday. The place was clean, project was done on time, and I am about to check in on the time clock. I have to review all time cards and if there are missing punches or shifts it does come back on me. The one time I was late by one hour on payroll I got an official reprimand. There were factors, such as a staff who quit and didn't return my phone calls about a missing punch. I am not having that happen again. So it falls on me, I gave everyone a printed list of their missing punches on Monday and payroll is due early tomorrow. I just put a lot of emphasis on being a 'good boss', always patient and basically nice.

    Most of this is just irritation or feeling like as a parent I could have taught or supported my daughter better. But it does not affect my life and I know that. Just a momma thing.

    I had supervisor stop by during an incredibly busy time, he wanted to talk to me (meanwhile he told my colleague he was stopping by because I needed support?) and when i couldn't tried to put the responsibility on me to email him. I just put it back on him a couple times. I was honest that I would not remember while I was teaching 15 kids a project so he needed to email me, then it would be my responsibility. I just need to accept that I will be doing this all year.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Teacher Terry View Post
    I agree with Steve in both his posts. Time for your employees to grow up.
    Oh yes! I went into the HR system again and there is not one applicant for the position I need to fill, then possibly coach out my problem staff. Getting creative next, I have hired people before that work during the school day which means they are not available for any ongoing training and don't do lesson planning or staff meetings, but it is time to do it.

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    SteveinMN,

    Yes, task-oriented managers are typically not overly concerned with retention of employees. So, if that is the sort of manager you have had, then you got the message, "if you didn't like the rules or goals of the organization, you were free to leave".

    In my view, some situations call for task-oriented management. Without a lot of insight into the situation at work that Zoe Girl was talking about, I have a hunch that task-oriented management is called for.

  10. #10
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    When a workplace becomes filed with sarcasm and abusive comments (and one minor incident like that does not really that situation make, if it's really just one day it's no big deal at all, but enough of them do as anyone who has ever worked somewhere where it's a constant drumbeat knows) then yea mostly all people can do is try to leave, find somewhere where issues are dealt with on a more mature and adult level of handling problems.
    If you want something to get done, ask a busy person. If you want them to have a nervous breakdown that is.

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