Authority; Change Management; Communication; Delegation

i’ll Get aroUNd to it

Primary Topic—Employee Problems and Problem Employees

Additional Topics—Authority; Change Management; Communication; Delegation

Housekeeping supervisor Mabel Wilson felt she had little control over the activities of housekeeper Ellie Masters. It seemed Ellie was generally nonresponsive to spe- cial requests and instructions to perform unexpected tasks. Regarding her routine, regularly assigned work, Ellie usually did what was expected of her in a reasonable amount of time and with acceptable results; however, Mabel could count on Ellie’s resistance to unanticipated assignments. Also, it seemed to Mabel that Ellie was unable to adjust her activities to account for anything that occurred unexpectedly.

For instance, this morning Mabel received a call regarding the sorry state of the hospital’s emergency room entrance. It seemed that prolonged bad weather had cre- ated widespread mud and much had been tracked in. Because that was Ellie’s area, Mabel sought her out and said, “The ER entrance is muddy and needs going over again. Please take care of it; it’s bound to be slippery, and we don’t want anyone to fall.”

Ellie simply nodded and said, “When I get around to it.” She continued with what she had been doing when Mabel found her. It was

not the first time Mabel had gotten that response from Ellie. One pace, one order of activities, one level of concern whether or not something was urgent, that was Ellie.


Develop a recommended approach for Mabel to apply in dealing with Ellie. Make certain your approach deals with the overall problem as well as with the immediate need expressed in Mabel’s recent instruction to Ellie.

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