Friday, April 24, 2009

What would you do?

I am one of those people that had a hundred jobs in his life.
(I’m not that old but at least it feels like that.)
Three times I had the opportunity to be in charge, to be the boss.
I found that dealing with equipment and problems are a breeze compared with managing people, specifically managing their personal relationships.

Here is a little story that happened to me.
I was managing a group of five people and my department got four tickets to a football game – expensive ones – from a satisfied client.

In my department I had one guy that went to high school with me.
Not a big friend in high school but now that he worked together we got closer.
The problem was that he was not a very good worker and everybody knew it.
Now here is my dilemma: Who gets the tickets?

This dilemma – of choosing between my feelings and my reason, between my heart and my brain – has visited me a couple of time in my life and it is one of the things that have made me ponder a great deal.
I’m not going to tell you – yet – what I did because I am curious on how would you deal with a situation like that.

So what would you do if you were in my position?
I thank you all for your comments.
Some very interesting and creative answers!

The way I did it was like the majority of you suggested; I give the tickets to the people that deserve it and kept one for myself :)
The problem was that right after I made my public announcement of the winners my good friend stormed in my office and gave me a piece of his mind.

I thought that he knew that he did not deserve the reward and that wouldn't be a problem but instead he brought up our friendship and how I betray him and that I was a shitty friend and all sorts of nasty reproaches.

I was in shock and did not know what to say.
Fortunately I came up with a good lie. I told him that the ticket I kept was for him not for me and I did it to keep up the moral of the group and avoid the favoritism accusations.
He bought it and everything went smooth.
Fortunately that was the last year for me at that company so I did not have to face that choice again.

The problem still remains unsolved for me.
How do you choose between an undeserving friend or lover and deserving colleague or person?
How do you choose between your heart and your brain, between your feelings and your reason?

The best advice I have for that is to keep your eyes open for that kind of conflict arising and do your best to prevent putting yourself in the choosing position.
Be cause if you have to choose, no matter what you do you will get screwed :)


Ted Bagley said...

No one, everyone on the team, including me, let him be a bad worker.

Aggie said...

I would of checked if anyone WASN'T a fan of football and that would have evened up the people numbers and tickets. Failing that, I'd have given them to the BEST workers who worked with that particular client. It was HIS thank you after all.

Barry said...

Because the tickets came from a satisfied client, they should go to the team of people who were most involved in creating that satisfaction.

If this person was on that team, great.

If this person wasn't on that team, great.

It's important that everyone know that you, as a manager, will support those who contribute to the business's success, regardless of personal feelings.

Brigit said...

I went to bed thinking about this last night. Not knowing all the details, make answering this difficult. As the other commenters have said, regarding the satisfied client, give the tickets to those that worked best for him. However...I work in a hotel that caters for diners, drinkers and accommodation. When tips are left, who gets the tips? We all work hard, kitchen staff, cleaners, bar staff, so our tips go into a large jar and at various times of the year are divided evenly between us.

I worked for an antiquarian book restorer for years. While everyone in the office essentially worked on book sales, I restored things in a studio away from the office. Who would you have given the tickets to in that situation?

I managed a charity store. Most of the staff were volunteers, of varying capabilities, so we had a volunteer of the month system. Not always easy.

With all that to ponder last night, I have opted for the easy way out. Numbers 1 - 5 in a hat. Numbers 1 - 4 on the tickets. The person to draw number 5 is the unlucky one.

Talon said...

Well...this was interesting to mull over. If all the people on your team worked for this client, I would have, as the manager, given them to them and let them enjoy themselves. And I'd be seriously thinking about having a worker (former school mate or not) who wasn't pulling their weight working for me.

Ted Bagley said...

My first comment was based on the thought the tickets stirred up in me that I've needed to deal with for while. The tickets are the non job/job thing that will help me with my own situation with my friend that has turned into a situation for everyone.
As a friend, since the symbolic power of the team has been moved to him, I will give the tickets to him. I will give him the option of using the tickets to give to the other members as a thank you for picking up his slack and he will work harder to be a better part of the team giving him a first step in stepping up. As a friend I would also let him know how I feel about him as a friend and the pickle that can cause. So I would recommend that he give thickets away to make himself more friends. Everything will now be out in the open between him and I and he will do the right thing for everyone.

The are three results that could happen where everyone wins. (The "everyone' in the post.)
Give the tickets away and step up.
Give the tickets away and quit quietly.
Keep the tickets and quit loudly.
If I find he is not my friend after all and does not want to work harder then there are ways now for getting rid of a worker that is not so good and will now be easier to do.
This is based on my experience of screwing up as a boss.

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

I think in this situation you have to make it very public exactly how you reach your decision to avoid being accused of favouritism.

If the company keeps statistics on performance/absence you could come up with a reward system that reflects how much work they've done (although this is better if you tell people in advance - gives them a chance to improve)

Aggie has a point about checking who likes football - however, i wouldn't be interested in football but might feel left out if everyone else got an incentive and i didn't.

If all else fails then names picked from a hat is fair!

The line between being someone's friend and being their boss is a hard one to tread. Been there, done that.

Paul Maurice Martin said...

I'm with Brigit - would find a way to randomize it, takes away the interpersonal strain...

Mark said...

If I could I would establish some type of incentive where everyone had a opportunity to earn a chance at winning the tickets. If I was unable to do that I would announce the availability of the tickets, see who is interested in them and then do a drawing for the winner.

Chatty Crone said...

Okay - I'd tell everyone that I had four tickets and ask who wanted to go. If all four wanted to go - I'd let them have it!

I don't like to go to football games anyway (Lol).

You could ask the man for another ticket.

Buddha said...

@ Ted – My first answer to your comment was “You don’t have many friends, do you” but then I read your second comment and I wanted to change it , but then I thought the first answer was more spontaneous and it reflected better your feelings so I kept my first reply :)

@ Aggie – Exactly my thinking.

@ Barry – I thought the same :)

@ Brigit – I never thought about that method, but I’ll keep it in mind next time I’ll face a similar situation.

@ Talon – Unfortunately I had no choice on that. I did not hire him. But that is a very good advice; never hire your friends to work for you.

@ Pixie – I know there is no good answer to that.

@ Paul – At least that would be good for my personal piece of mind :)

@ Mark – Very interesting solution. Did not think about it!

@ Cathy – Well, some how I ended up doing just that :)

Ted Bagley said...

I've been told that I'm everyones best friend, so I guess you're right.
I wonder what you would have changed it to?
The best managers think first before they act spontaneously.