June 24, 2010
If you have a family or small business and you find yourself asking this question to yourself of employees and partners then you are getting business and personal relations confused.
A business owner (whom we will call Mary) realized her manager (whom we will call John) really did not like to work Saturdays. Recently Mary hired a person to come in every other Saturday, thereby giving John the day off. Something came up in Mary’s personal life and she had to call John and ask him to work a double shift. John agreed to. Mary Further offered to work for him on the following Saturday (a day he would normally have had to work). He agreed to that too.
It came to Mary’s attention that John had a really lousy attitude that day and even told a customer that he didn’t feel like doing something because – “I’ve been here since seven this morning and I will be here till nine tonight.” Additionally, John was beginning to act like the owner. Mary had come to rely on John but she was getting very uncomfortable.
This is a situation doomed to blow up. It happens all the time. If the people involved are family members, it is even more explosive.
As for as John is concerned, he still has to work every other Saturday and he is annoyed about that. As for her working for him on Saturday in exchange for working for him … he feels that she is putting personal matters ahead of the business which he would not be allowed to do. In his mind, his power is growing. Perhaps he has even made people think he is the owner. The fact that Mary can call in and just say she’s not coming in (which is how he interprets what she did) and he can’t creates a resentment.
The underlying problem here is that John is not clear as to what his position is. Why? Probably because Mary was so overworked that when he began taking more and more over, she was happy to let him. Michael Gerber, of Emyth, describes this as abdicating responsibility as opposed to delegating responsibility.
Defining position expectations is key.
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