Put yourself in Margie’s position and advise Nancy how to proceed in the matter of the apparent responsibility dodging by a fellow supervisor.

To maNaGe The maNaGer

Primary Topic—Employee Problems and Problem Employees

Additional Topics—Authority; Communication; Leadership; Motivation

From the look on the face across the desk from her, human resources representative Margie Olson thought she had better pay special attention to what supervisor Nancy Wright was saying. Not ordinarily given to emotional displays, Nancy was clearly on the verge of tears as she spoke of increasing frustration and pressure that she appar- ently felt was to the result of the behavior of another supervisor.

“Please understand,” Nancy was saying, “that my job and the jobs of Linda Williams and Mark Allen are extremely interrelated. The three of us work at the same level and report to the same boss. Mark does just fine, and I don’t have any problems because of him. But Linda is making my life miserable and I don’t know how to change things.”

Margie asked, “Miserable how?” “Linda simply will not address any real problems that arise and she continually

puts off any decisions that have to be made.” “How does that affect you?” “It means I do her work, and so does Mark. At least the more difficult stuff. She

schedules disciplinary conferences to happen when she’s conveniently not going to be here. In the same way she procrastinates on decisions until someone else—usually Mark or myself—is forced to make them.”

Margie asked, “Why are you and Mark always so conveniently available to bail her out?”

“The way we’re organized, the three of us are set up to cross-cover each other’s areas on virtually a minute’s notice. Jane Worth set it up that way.”

At the mention of the three supervisors’ mutual boss, Margie asked, “What about Jane? Isn’t she aware of what’s going on with Linda?”

“I don’t know how aware she really is. Anyway, it seems like any time Jane calls Linda on the carpet for anything, Linda manages to shift the blame to someone else. Usually Mark or me. Remember, Linda was on the scene before I came here and before Mark was promoted. Linda and Jane go a long way back, and anyway I’ve never felt I could go to my boss with a complaint about a peer supervisor.”

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Nancy was silent a moment, strain evident in her expression. At last she said, “I don’t know how to fix this. I only know I can’t remain on this job forever picking up the slack for a supervisor who refuses to be accountable.”

Instructions:

Put yourself in Margie’s position and advise Nancy how to proceed in the matter of the apparent responsibility dodging by a fellow supervisor.

120      Case 55: To Manage the Manager

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