The Absent Leader – The Pressure is On

The Absent Leader – The Pressure is On

The story so far…Ken is taken aback when one of his staff, Project Manager Jane, tells him she’s unhappy at work because of his inaction. After a brief word with the HR manager, and prior to a scheduled meeting with her later in the day, he reflects on what she said.

Ken felt a bit unsettled after the conversation with Maya, the HR manager. He still didn’t really understand. Allocate time for managing? Surely his staff knew their job. He always made sure someone saw any new starters through the induction pack and he signed it off himself, congratulating them in person. And he always said his door was always open. Sort of. Pushing the thought aside he got on with his work. But just after lunch his phone rang.

‘Ken, John here.’ It was the MD and it was rare indeed for him to speak directly to someone so far down the pecking order. His nickname was The Almighty. Hearing his voice Ken immediately had a memory of being at school and standing outside his Headmaster’s door waiting to be told off. Before he could answer John continued, ‘Ken, I need an update on that project, you know the one I mean, for Freedman’s. They’re asking for an update. Their MD is a personal friend of mine. I’ve promised him a report by Friday. See to it, will you?’ There was a sudden click and the phone went dead. The Almighty John didn’t waste time on unnecessary words.

It took a few seconds for it to sink in. Friday – three days away! What about the stack of work sitting on his desk now? Reports like that always take ages, and he had no idea of the current state of play on the project. Then he had a brilliant idea. He’d get Miranda to write it, Jane had said something a while back about her not working hard enough. This would shake her up, give her something to cut her teeth on. With a sigh of relief he headed over to the tiny office Jane and Miranda shared.

Jane was busy typing something and didn’t look up. ‘Jane,’ he started. No response. ‘Jane!’ She started and looked up ‘Sorry, I was deep in something, didn’t notice you there.’

‘Actually, it’s Miranda I’m looking for. The MD wants a report on how your project for Freedman’s is going. Thought it would be good for her to write it.’

Jane sat back and folded her arms. ‘You’re kidding, right?’

‘No, where is she?’

Jane looked at her watch. ‘Well, let’s see, she left for lunch an hour and ten minutes ago, so I guess she’ll roll in in about twenty minutes or so.’

‘I don’t understand, lunchtime should be an hour. Are you telling me she always takes a long lunch?’

Jane snorted. ‘Long lunch, long coffee breaks, long fag breaks. I told you, she hardly does anything. Did you do anything about it? Obviously not or she’d be here now!’

Ken took a step back, holding his arms up in mock surrender. ‘And you can forget about her writing any report, she won’t have a clue. I’m the one who does all the work around here. Remember?’
He sighed and looked at the ground. She could almost hear the cogs in his brain turning.

‘Okay,’ he said, ‘you can do it. I’m too busy. Don’t pull that face, it’ll look good on your CV. And make sure it’s perfect, you know what a stickler he is, picks up anything he can to throw in my face.’
And with that he spun on his heel and headed off to speak to someone else.

n his way past Jane’s office later, he noticed that Miranda was back, but Jane’s desk was clear. He walked in just as Miranda yelled ‘Got it!’ and punched the air. She glanced up “Got it, that designer bag for only forty five quid… oh… it’s you… Can I help you?’

‘Where’s Jane?’

‘She was in a right temper when I got back a couple of minutes ago, shoving her stuff in her bag and that. She’s gone. Oh, and she left something for you on her desk.’
……………….. to be continued.

To make sure your management skills aren’t questioned contact us today on 01954267640 for details of our Management Development Programme.

Share on LinkedInTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+