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Dealing with Coworkers

By vince_clores ·
As a young MIS officer and IT personnel of our college, i always had a hardtime dealing with coemployees who loves to wallow in their negativism and laziness. Reporting to the top management of their irresponsibility after several attempts of reminding them their part in my projects resulted in ruined relationship and worst of all heated arguments. I always regret the fact that they are older and had rendered longer years of service than me. Late submission of reports and compliance to my requests is my greatest problem. Any advice please?

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by SVS1each In reply to Dealing with Coworkers

"i always had a hardtime dealing with coemployees who loves to wallow in their negativism and laziness" What do you do to build morale and a team environment? They wallow because you dont give them anything else to focus on. Some people wallow, some will come ashore when given the right incentive.

"Reporting to the top management of their irresponsibility" Skipping the chain of command and going to the top shows that you couldnt take care of it yourself (whether you tried or not) and that you need help, when you probably didnt.
Shows them that you're not willing to solve the problem at the lowest level- with them.

"several attempts of reminding them their part in my projects" Their parts in your projects doesnt exactly engender them to your goal. When you get them to buy into their role in the project as a team, then its not yours- it becomes theirs too. They'll want to do well when it's their investment, not just your project wherein their another person making it work for you.

"Late submission of reports and compliance to my requests" Compliance to a request is not going to get results. It's like saying to a screaming child, "Stop screaming please" Request is saying its ok to not do it because there are no consequences. Compliance to an order/demand (I'm military) is when they know there are consequences to not following up. Have you stated those to them. What happens when they dont fulfill their job reqment?

It's not always everyone else, sometimes its you.

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Is there really a need to militarize a department

by vince_clores In reply to

Thanks for your militaristic and very strong advice! In our organization it is the job of the administrative officer who belongs to the top management to repremand my coworkers(I should say subordinate if they are directly under me) of their neglegence. Many times did i and that fellow faced and agreed to work hand in hand in front of our admin officer but still he couldn't do his job and keep on wallowing to his laziness thereby affecting my project. Any advice?

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by SVS1each In reply to Is there really a need to ...

My thoughts were not militaristic by any means- they are straight out of any team/managerial book. What we have in the military is very similar to civilian, except the UCMJ aspect and well- everything is focused on planes and bombs.

Your project... there it is again. If your admin officer does the 'reprimanding', when do you get to implement your expectations and consequences? If you dont lay those out, how do they know what the boundaries/guidelines are?

Again, if your co-workers dont 'buy into' the project and they're only assigned to it because you need manpower and not a team, well you're fighting a losing battle. You were set-up.

If you have to run to someone else everytime your co-workers arent performing, you arent being empowered by your boss and you lack validity. I have plenty of superiors but I'm the superior of my facility (35 troops) and they answer to me and I answer up. It only works with a chain of command and you're not in it, when you should be.

You cant have your admin. standing over them saying, "So-so needs you to work" and you stand there going "Yeah do it" .. thats never going to work. Unless I'm asking my troops to do something wholly unsafe and illegal, I'm very much supported by my superiors to run my facility. I'm responsible to my subords to do the same thing.

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Re: Chain of Command and Validity

by Salamander In reply to

Reading your post made my own situation a bit clearer. As a civilian responsible for implementing a project in a quasi-military structure, my chain of command is different than the chain for the other folks working on the project. Any thoughts on how to establish validity and get things done?

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by SVS1each In reply to Re: Chain of Command and ...

Guess it depends on how your chain of command works.

Ex: I came into this field knowing nothing yet I was expected to command 2 facilities/34 airmen (AB-MSgt) I rely heavily on my managers and superintendent (50 yrs experience between them) to teach me. In turn, I do everything I can to support them, give them the resources to do their job, trust that they'll do what their expected to and when they dont I follow up with consequences (verbal warning through Art 15s)

When you're working in a small group project arena you have to explain what your goal is, put out goal deadlines, assign roles appropriately, follow-up w/ taskings/timelines, support with resources and positive feedback and roll to the end.

Negatives are dealt with accordingly. Fire them if you have to, reassign as necessary, but ensure they know what they're doing and why.

Validity comes with knowing what you're doing and giving them opportunity to contribute to the project. Follow, Lead and sometimes get out of the way.

"Shut up and color" just doesnt seem to fly in the civilian world.

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Need to get some crayons...

by Salamander In reply to

Thanks for the balanced reply.

As for the respective chains of command for this implementation, they only intersect at the ceilings (the head of my chain is the head of the chain for the other teammembers, but there is no other overlap). I've been pretty successful in not having to go up my chain to get things accomplished, and to deal with any conflicts at my level. As a civilian, however, I know that I have a harder time establishing credibility than I would if I were in my teammembers' chain.

I think that I sometimes forget that some negatives cannot be always balanced by adding more positive action on my part -- that negatives sometimes must be dealt with directly. On reflection, I've probably erred a bit too much in being overly supportive (such as accepting ongoing ranting on the parts of some) and not enough on encouraging the team members to get out there to tread water on their own. They are well-equipped; I know that they can do it. I've seen my role as doing whatever I can to help my teammembers with a somewhat unpopular implementation, as the project was externally imposed. I think that's important to maintain, but there are a couple of people that I really wish I could tell to "shut up and color"!

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You start by getting the

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Re: Chain of Command and ...

Respect of those working under you and letting them all know that you are not willing to give them any jobs that you personally would be unwilling to perform.

I've seen far too many people who think that they are in charge when in actual fact it is always a "Team Effort" and how they behave when given a title. It somehow makes them think that they are better than others and this attitude only gets up peoples noses and causes them not to work to their abilities.

After all why bother when someone else will be the fall guy who keeps lording it over us and constantly telling us just how powerful he/she is?

Currently I run a small business that employees 10 teaches and every one of them worked for me when I used to work for a boss and they all hatted my guts while I was there and all wanted me back when I left. They tended to follow me around when I shifted jobs as well so it was only natural that they all approached me when I went out on my own.

I'm not such a nice guy to work with as I expect everyone to pull their weight but I also understand when things go wrong and what every one of my current employ has constantly told me is the one single thing that impresses them with me is that I always take on the nasty jobs and leave them to do the "Easy" work.

In other words I don't only take the cream and leave the rest for everyone else.

Col

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Agreed.

by Salamander In reply to You start by getting the

I agree that the title is meaningless; it's what you can do that counts. I've had the misfortune of working under more than one team leader who talked the talk but couldn't walk the walk, and I would never impose that on anyone.

I can truthfully say that I've always taken on the nastiest parts of the project I'm working on, most parts of which most of the team is not aware of. My head is the one on the chopping block if it fails; not theirs. Most of my team have come around after a time, but I've got a couple of sabateurs that there seems to be no pleasing. I suppose that's normal in any environment, but it bugs me.

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by SVS1each In reply to Agreed.

Why arent their heads on the chopping block too? Maybe that should be emphasized as a consequence for lack of work/initiative/cooperation?

How do you know its sabotage and not just a lack of interest which comes off as sabotage in your eyes?

"Shut up and color" doesnt last for long and shouldnt be used in most cases unless the fight is on and you need someone right then/there to do it. Otherwise its a misuse of authority/leadership. I've rarely used it except in safety or crisis.

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Re: Chopping Block

by Salamander In reply to Agreed.

I don't control who's on the chopping block -- that's WAY out of my realm of authority.

As for sabotage, I initially chalked the events in question up to a error that resulted from a need for additional training. I thought that until one the parties began to gloat over the resulting chaos. It was an act of commission, versus omission. I do have to admire the creativity, though! If only I could harness that power for good and not evil!

Thanks for the food for thought.

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