Question: Recently, I went to the big boss about a problem in our group. I felt that someone was being treated unfairly by someone else.
We have a lot of rules to follow in our organization. A new person, Jim, joins our team and he is given the rules to read. A couple of days later, Jim asks for something from one of the supervisors which is not something he can get until after he gets out of probation. The boss, Lelah’s response is NO. The next thing I know, Lelah is trying to tell everyone this is a bad employee because they broke a rule and he was nasty to her.
I feel Jim will be a good employee. He might be little slow at things cause all of this is new for him.I know my head was swimming when I joined the company. I asked him about the situation and he said she was short with him. He then went on and asked someone else to help him even though they probably should not have.
I told Jim to talk to Jake to see if he can make things better. I have also talked with Jake, though it seems he is siding with Lelah. Oh, and I forgot to add that Lelah is the big boss, Jake’s girlfriend. What can I do to help Jim?
Answer: Well, Jim certainly has a mess on his hands. It is not uncommon for organizations to have rules. Sometimes those rules can be overwhelming to someone who is new. While Lelah’s response was technically right, the sensitivity chip may have been missing. The role of a boss is to coach and teach employees on how to operate not only their job, but how to manage the organizational politics.
Lelah had a prime opportunity to convey why the rule was made and to weigh in on whether or not there could be an exception in this case. Unfortunately, some bosses hide behind the rule book because it easier and faster to say no than to take time to nurture someone. When people understand why, they are less likely to go around looking for someone else to break a rule.
The added element of Jake and Lelah’s relationship puts Jim at a further disadvantage. Despite Jake’s intentions to be fair, it is difficult to tell your girlfriend they are wrong or what they could have differently. The tendency will be saving face for their partner since there is a stronger tie to them than a new employee.
Unfortunately, Jim may become a victim of an organization that has some kinks in it. The only person who can make it right is Jake and you may have to wait and see if he has the courage to do the right thing.