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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Management Lessons

1.) Lesson One Never publicly chastize an employee. If you feel the need to correct an employee, take them aside or wait till later and call them to your office and speak with them.

I'm a counselor and also first level management, that is I'm a senior counselor and I manage a unit of 10, 7 counselors and 3 support staff. I attend many meetings including 2 management team meetings per month. I may have mentioned previously that about 2 years ago, my very good friend became our office manager. This has created boundary issues for me and for her in particular-I think.

Our office is very diverse with staff from Nigeria, Russia, Jamaica and lots of other islands, Puerto Rico, China, and etc. The new manager, a white Jewish woman (and I mention this because this is the default manager for our agency) rather than taking it slow when she came in, and getting the lay of the land, starting making change, some of it draconian, immediately. This caused instability in the office who had heard of this individual-as we are a small agency relatively-and were tentative about her coming to our office, or outright afraid.

This ultimately resulted in a letter from the staff to Human Resources and a meeting with the Assistant Commissioner and the District Office Manager and the staff, but not the offending manager. And some follow up corrective actions and some paranoia.
That's the setup:

In my unit I have several people with disabilities including myself, but one uses Access A Ride, the local option for individuals with disabilities who can't use bus/subways. This is a good but creaky option which requires reservations and wait time.

The day before a holiday we ofter close early, but we never know until the whim of the manager of that moment. Even the supervisors, first line managers don't know, so I made the mistake of asking at the management team meeting. I was publicly humiliated by my boss/friend who said, "You should know better. You work for the government. We never close early. If that happens if happens quietly and it's a gift. You don't ask if you're getting a gift?" All at shouting level. I explained that I was just trying to make arrangements for my counselor-who is also recovering from double c-spine surgery. "We can't make arrangements for every counselor." All this from a professional who works for people with disabilities.


Mary Beth said...

ugh, how horrible. I'm so sorry.

Joolie said...

just keep breathing. I hope this doesn't sound horrible, but lately I've been kind of yearning to be out of the parish and back in an office setting. Your story made me take off those rose-colored glasses and give thanks for the conflicts I have here, which are so much less than the pressure it sounds like you're dealing with. Peace to you.