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Difficult End Users

By Mr. Roy ·
I am new to this Network Administration position and have aquestion: I have an end user that tried to tell me how to do my job but won't do hers correctly. How is the best way to handle this? There are favorites here and direct communication with this person is not a good idea.

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Use E-mail for your comunications

by jdclyde In reply to Difficult End Users

and keep it all.

Be VERY professional at all times no matter WHAT the user does.

Let the user be wrong. Some arguments are not worth winning.

The user is your customer and your ONLY reason for existing as a network Admin.

If you can get them to document the ways they feel you should be doing your job, you are also in a better position to defend why you don't do as they suggest. If they are good ideas, thank them for their help and use them.

Ego has no place in IT, so don't LET them bruise yours. You will be just fine! No, it isn't always easy but it will work.

good luck!

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Think "War", Not "Battle"

by FirstPeter In reply to Difficult End Users

I think JD was pretty much right on. Think more about the big picture "war" than just this one "battle". It's certainly okay to respond to the user as to why you chose to approach the problem your way instead of their's, but make sure it's a neutral communication. DEFINITELY don't make it hostile or condescending, but at the same time don't be patronizing - if their idea isn't good don't say it is. A simple "thanks for the idea, but we're doing it this way because..." should be sufficient. If you give credit to their ideas when it's not due (e.g., "that's a good idea - maybe we'll try that in the future" when it's clearly NOT a good idea) you run the risk that the user will continue down the path they're going on because their behavior has been validated.

I'm always a big fan of BCC'ing your boss if this is a recurring problem. The last thing you want is your boss getting blindsided when the user's boss corners him in the hall (or worse, a staff meeting) and says "Mr. Roy isn't doing what he's supposed to be doing and it's causing my person problems". Even if you're in the right your boss may end up embarassed and you'll have to deal with explaining it to him/her. Some folks don't like the BCC route, but it's no different than sending your boss a summary of what problems you've been facing - it's even better, I'd argue, because your boss can see exactly how you phrased your response and can see if perhaps communication is the real problem. The only caveat is make absolutely sure you let your boss know that you don't need his/her intervention yet (unless you do) - you just want to make sure they understand the issue.

I will disagree with JD on the subject of the user being the sole reason you're an Admin - certainly they're a part, but any company that starts letting Admins go because users complain in that fashion has bigger problems at hand. Not to say it doesn't happen, just that it's a pretty dang dysfunctional place if it is happening. Your responsibility is to do your job the best you can in the eyes of your management -- not individual users.

Good luck!

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BCCing and clearification

by jdclyde In reply to Think "War", Not "Battle"

I go the route of the CC myself. I WANT them to know that mine AND their bosses are FULLY aware of what is going on. If their bad behavior will become public, they are more likely to "tone it down" if it is abusive in nature.

As for the user being our purpose, let me clerify.

IT does not bring in revenue (unless you are a provider). We are there so that end-users can do their job. Nothing more, nothing less. This does not mean you have to kiss user butt, but many admins think that the users are subserviant to IT. IT is there SO the company can do business.

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BCC vs. CC

by FirstPeter In reply to BCCing and clearification

My main reason for BCC vs. CC in this situation is that I don't want them to change their tactics simply because they know that everyone is watching. In my mind all that really does is change HOW they're doing stuff - it doesn't address WHAT they're doing.

With BCC I have the ability to tell my boss (I don't think I'd include his/her boss on it) that something is going on but that I am handling it now and will call them in if necessary. If the user continues to pose a problem to me getting my job done I call in the boss and hopefully at that point I catch the user off-balance to the point that they really can't change tactics and continue with their tirade - they either change WHAT they're doing or deal with the fallout because now they've been caught before and are being "watched".

If they know I'm CC'ing everyone then I see the real threat that things start to go covert because the user doesn't want to get caught so they're less obvious about being a pain in the tail which makes it more difficult for me to show that to management.

To me a CC doesn't gain me anything at all because it doesn't change the overall root behavior, just the tactics.

My two cents.

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CC might help find middle ground?

by jdclyde In reply to BCC vs. CC

Some issues can be resolved without the dismissal of an employee. Resolutions are better for the company in many cases.

I TRY to give them the benifit of the doubt. All depends on WHAT the user is doing and WHY they are doing it of course.

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nope

by ITgirli In reply to CC might help find middle ...

no middle ground. Let bosses know what shigty end user is up to. rat them out big time. Only way to stop it from happening again is to remove the source of the problem. Why give them the benefit of the doubt. I thought everyone checked their soul before entering IT.

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Dismissal

by FirstPeter In reply to CC might help find middle ...

Absolutely - I'd rather correct someone's bad behavior than let them go. But I don't see CC as doing that - I see it as driving the same behavior but a different approach.

Your last sentence is right on, though - perhaps the user doesn't know better. Maybe...

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I'm in a dysfunctional place then,

by TonytheTiger In reply to Think "War", Not "Battle"

I've just learned that my evaluation (which determines my pay rate) is affected by not only how well I do my job, or how I conduct myself while trying to address the users' problems, but what the user THINKS I'm thinking while trying to address their problems!

Oh, and I also discovered telling the truth can get me disciplined. A user stuck her head in my office and asked if I was busy and I said "Yes, very. (which was the truth), what can I do for you?" to which she replied "Oh, never mind, I'll ask someone else." and got reprimanded for it.

(on the other hand, why forgetting your password three times in one day, or deleting every file on your group drive does not affect the user's evaluation is beyond me)


It's a sign of the times. A feww years ago, schools started drilling into the heads of children that THEY are responsible for the plight of the Native American and descendents of slaves, and now I am personally responsible for what other people think! If you even LOOK at someone, that person's interpretation of that look can get you sued, or even imprisoned!

It's really no wonder this country is heading for the toilet.

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you know

by ITgirli In reply to I'm in a dysfunctional pl ...

you have to know who is at fault for the state this country is in. I'm not going to start a war here, but you know who is at fault.

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Indeed I do.

by TonytheTiger In reply to you know

Indeed I do :)

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