GL,Your opinion on this: I swear this happened last week.
We have a new gal working with us who has a four year old son. She
has no family or anyone to pick up her son after work if she is
late for some reason. So our supervisor tells her to use my
co-worker’s name and phone number on the child’s
emergency information at the pre-school. My co-worker is put in the
unenviable position of not wanting the liability of someone
else’s child in her vehicle, and by the way who pays for her
to take the time to pick up the kid?(we’re government), AND
not to mention that she did not volunteer for this
“privilege.” Because we both like the new girl we
don’t want to hurt her feelings, but didn’t our
Supervisor cross a line here? Esp. since SHE didn’t volunteer
HERSELF. My co-worker is single and has no children, babysits for
her niece ONLY. I think because she house sits and dotes on her
niece, our Supervisor figured she loves to babysit all
from, PO’d and it is not even ME.
Variations of this situation happen every day in every
workplace. Someone is being taken advantage of, disrespected, or
ignored. I feel for the co-worker who has been placed in this
Unfortunately, a lot of new managers are untrained, unskilled
and inexperienced. With experience, comes an ability to sense
issues that, if unchecked, might well detract from the overall
objectives of the unit.
My own experience is that these issues tend to fester like a
small blister than gets untreated, then infected and, before you
know it a foot gets amputated. OK, OK, a bit dramatic but you get
The point is one cannot expect ‘management’ to
understand every consequence of their actions. So, instead of
assuming all managers can sense issues, dissatisfactions,
or inequalities one has to communicate upward and sideways. Most of
the time, these situations can be easily rectified and solved by
people of good will.
It is easy to assume there is a manager-worker gap, what there
is instead, is a communication gap. And, if the manager is
oblivious to situations such as these, the affected person needs to
“grow some” and talk about it.
1. Go up to the supervisor and say something like “I
heard you volunteered so-and-so to be Ms New Person’s
designated emergency contact at her son’s school, can we talk
about it a bit? The new girl is in a tough spot as is so-and-so
with this idea, there may be a better way.”
2. Chances are this open ended approach will help surface some
other ideas. If you approach the supervisor in a non-accusatory
way, I am betting you will not only gain her respect but together,
you can figure out a solution.
3. Be prepared to discuss some of the issues that the manager
either forgot or overlooked. Your task is to bring up these
concerns on behalf of your co-workers in a helpful way.