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2008-02-23 - 1:51 p.m.

I hinted at the end of my last entry that I was heading into a week at work that was worse than I was prepared for. I think it was a combination of a few things- I came in on the Monday (11/2) and the final 2007 performance ratings for my staff had been emailed to me. I was dreading it but I thought I had another couple of weeks. Performance ratings (though they are changing this year) follow the dreaded bell curve, which means that there's a good chance that someone will be forced to get a low rating that they don't 100% deserve. Up until last year there was a guy who always deserved it (and regardless, I didn't have to deliver the news), but this year I knew that I would be talking to at least a couple of people who wouldn't be happy. So I was stressing out about it a lot of the week (while delivering the not so bad news to the other end of the bell curve), and I was feeling particularly stressed about it last Sunday, tired and grumpy after a late night of drinking, and knowing that I couldn't put it off any longer and had to do it on the Monday.

Ironically it was delivering the bad news to the lowest ranked person on Monday (18/2) that got this last week off to a pretty good start. They took it a lot better than I thought they would, and I think I was very professional about it, and diplomatic and sensitive and all the rest. The only thing that I really should have done more of was making it clear that improving their performance was 100% up to them- okay I didn't think they deserved quite as low as what they got (but in a relative system that's life) but clearly you can't be the lowest ranked person and be doing everything right. I spent more time making sure they were okay with the rating than making them face the genuine issues. I guess some people (who may have been poorly managed in the past and aren't going to be around much longer) are less likely to listen or change.

So while it wasn't fun, I think it was important in developing my managerial skills. Then there's the stuff I wrote about in my last entry about having to deal with a culture of "dumbing down" and feeling like you're owed something. There is one particular situation that I'm quite embarrassed by -how disorganised we've been among other things. And this week I just thought "fuck it, I can't change the past, but I'm going to put a rocket up a few people this week", and I guess it's a case of better late than never but I really think stuff's been getting done this week, and I feel like I've developed more as a manager than any of the other weeks I've been doing it. I'm not going into next week with any expectations- I could be presented with another royally crap week, but coming off last week (and in contrast to the week before) I'm feeling pretty positive.

Workwise, I think that covers the last 2 weeks in a nutshell- I'll get to the social stuff in my next entry.


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