What Would You Do?

Dan McCarthy authors a blog dedicated to leadership development called Great Leadership. Recently he posted a series of questions and scenarios and asked people to repost and respond.

As a result, I decided to try something a little different with 4 of the manager dilemmas he included. Below are the 4, but I am not going to spell out how I would respond. Instead I would like to start an ongoing discussion in the comment section below.

Here are the 4 scenarios:

  • Two of your employees come to you with a complaint about another one of your employees. You’ve never personally observed the behavior they are complaining about. Do you confront the employee? If so, do you mention the complaints?
  • Your manager congratulates you for a brilliant suggestion and hints at a promotion. One of your employees gave you the idea. Do you mention this to the manager? Your manager is upset because the sales forecast you gave has errors. You delegated the forecast to one of your sales reps. Do you blame her?
  • Is it ever OK for a manager to be friends with their employees?
  • You’ve accidentally been given access to your employee’s email accounts. You see your name in the subject line of several emails. Do you peek?

So, you’re the manager…how do you respond?

4 Responses to 'What Would You Do?'

  1. Ron Springs says:

    3rd scenario… yes, definitely… I would imagine it would depend on the company and the circumstances, but in my setting, I am friends with my employees, and it works fine…

  2. Penny Hunter says:

    RE: the first scenario. I’ve heard of a well-known pastor and author who, if a staff member comes to complain about another staffer says “I’ll give you 24 hours to address this directly with them. If you don’t, I’ll bring you both in together to work this out.” He means it. I also know of another leader who is infamous for telling the person complaining “just a second” as he punches the line of the other party asking them to join the discussion in his office.

  3. Lynn Hill says:

    ok…I’m not a manager but here’s what I would like to see done as an employee…
    !st situation…as a manager, I would pay attention for a while to the person the complaint was made about. If I did not see it after a week, I would have the 2 employees come back in and tell them I had not seen the problem. I would ask the 2 if they would like to have a meeting with the 4 of us, them, me, and the employee that may have the problem. I would say there is a problem between the 2 and the 1 that needs to be resolved.

    2nd situation…I would give credit where credit is due and I would not blame the sales rep. Ultimately it would be my responsibility to make sure the information given me was correct.

    3rd situation…no… a direct manager cannot ethically be friends with a direct report. It opens the door to all kinds of misunderstandings.

    4th situation…I think I have to say it depends. I believe it would be best not to look, but…… if I was having a problem with morale and disruption with the employee and I had access to their emails, I think I would peek. It would not be right, and I would try to resist looking at all, but it would be a HUGE temptation!

    • Byron says:

      Lynn, thanks for the thoughtful responses. However I believe it is possible for a manager to be friends with their employees. The key is that neither side takes advantage of the friendship. One caveat though, as a manager who has had to let a friend go, it makes for a very difficult decision and a fair amount of guilt. Not that the decision was wrong, but that you had to make a decision that negatively impacts their life.

      Penny, great response. Going to have to remember that one.

      Thanks Ron!

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