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2006-03-09 - 11:45 a.m.
Woah- first day back at work was a shitfight. Not the start I wanted. There was heaps to do at 3pm when I arrived (this is quite often not the case which is nice bcause you get about an hour to get up to speed on what's been happening), Kel's car broke down and she couldn't make it into work, Gerry started early so he wasn't going to be with us the whole shift and Ethan was being his usual surly self.
Yeah, you're just going to have to deal with me throwing random names around without introducing them first if I'm going to be on a writing kick.
Ethan is the most difficult member of my team for me to manage at the moment. As fate would have it he's going to move teams anyway, which will make things easier for me but bypass a valuable managerial lesson in dealing with difficult people. Thing is, he's one of the most efficient and on the ball people out of all the shift workers, but he doesn't get along with one of the other guys on the team and rather than dealing with it maturely he can make things hell for me. Granted the guy in question can be a lazy and obnoxious dickhead at times (nice thing to say about one of my friends, but the fact that I'd consider him a friend doesn't mean I support his work ethic), but I've still got a job to do.
Without Anthony (the other guy in question) I think Ethan would be fine (although he's moody at the best of times), but because he thinks Anthony is a lazy fuck, every time I ask him to do something there's the implication in his tone and body language (not to mention him straight out suggesting it sometimes) that he resents it because h's probably doing twice as much as Anthony. Some things are facts of life- if Ethan completes a task twice as quickly as Anthony, am I going to ask Anthony to do the next thing when he's in the middle of something else? Regardless of whether or not you feel that he should have finished his task half an hour ago. If Ethan's perception of Anthony's inefficiency is justified (and in some cases it is) then that will be reflected in Anthony's performance review. Ethan is a high performer so he should have nothing to worry about, but his attitude is likely to lower his performance rating. Because it's not all about churning out results, it's about teamwork, communication and an attitude that it's better to take twice as long if it means you'll be doing the job twice as safely or accurately.
Ethan will work through morning tea and lunch even when you tell him to take a break, and then resent if you ask him to do something when he hasn't had a break yet. There's a particular task that no-one really enjoys and the expectation from a lot of people is that in a team of four you should only have to do it every fifth day (ie everyone takes their turn). For the most part this is how it's done but sometimes it's not logistically possible. God forbid if he's asked to do it twice in three days (I've never assigned it to someone two days in a row). It doesn't matter that on the day in question Kel was going home early because she'd come in at 4am, Gerry was not there and Anthony hasn't performed the task in a couple of years (because he had been doing the job I'm doing). Sure, it means I need to get him back into it, but that will be on a quiet night, not a busy morning.
I guess the bottom line is he will do something if you ask him to, but for the fuss he makes it feels like it's not worth it. Which brings the onus squarely back to me. If I'm going to be an effective supervisor I have to be confident in my decisions, and not back peddle if I'm met with resistance, or not ask someone to do something because I'm afraid of their reaction. I can't expect everybody to like me- does anybody know of a boss that everyone likes?