The Absent Leader – Defining Solutions

The Absent Leader – Defining Solutions
27
Feb

The story so far… Ken has a problem. His MD wants a report on an important project urgently. He has no idea how it’s going and, to make matters worse, the HR manager tells him she wants to speak to him about the way he’s treating his staff…

Ken picked up the paper Jane had left for him without looking at it and stormed out. He went to his office and slammed the door. Wait until tomorrow, he’d show her. She just had to do that report. He glanced at the time, half an hour until he met Maya. Grabbing a biscuit from his secret supply he sat heavily and looked at the paper Jane had left. It was a print out of an article from some HR magazine.

‘Staff Wellbeing Crucial for ROI’

Return on Investment, he understood that well enough. Had to prove his departments ROI each quarter and there was hell to pay if he didn’t have good figures to show.

Crucial to look after your staff… blah, blah, blah… biggest asset… staff wellbeing increasingly recognised as important… blah, blah… stress…sick days… blah, blah… turnover…
Then a phrase caught his eye Look after your staff and they’ll be more productive. Staff wellbeing is vital for any organisation.

Well, he could certainly do with more productive staff. Look at that Miranda, bidding on eBay after a long lunch. No time to do anything about it now though. He decided to get some fresh air and walked around the building for ten minutes before heading off to his meeting with Maya, the HR manager. The walk cleared his head, but unfortunately gave him time to clarify his problems without finding any solutions.

The look on Maya’s face as he walked into her room bought back that headmaster’s office feeling. Something was wrong. More wrong than this morning.

‘Sit down, Ken,’ she said, sighing. This time she didn’t offer him a coffee. ‘We need to talk. I’ve just had a call from the company doctor. He’s just signed Jane off sick for two weeks. Stress. She’s been telling him about the problems with Miranda, and I gather you haven’t dealt with them.’

‘No, well…’

‘I appreciate that you’re busy, Ken, but you have to look after your staff. Without them, we don’t have a business. But the first thing is helping Jane to get better.’

Ken looked puzzled, ‘How? I’m not a doctor.’

‘No, but you can send her some flowers and a card. More importantly, take the pressure off her at work and let her know that’s what you plan to do.’

Ken shifted in his chair and ran his fingers through his hair. ’Well, I can’t give it to Miranda, she’s… well… you know… and the MD wants a report on progress by Friday.’

‘Sounds like you’re in a fix. Let’s think this through. There are several issues. How do you see them?’

‘The most obvious thing is getting the project back on schedule. That’s crucial.’

‘Any ideas how that can happen?’

‘That’s a tough one, there should be two people on it and now I have one away sick and the other not working properly.’

‘Can anyone else help?’

‘I suppose Jim could do it, he’s not too pressed at the moment, but it would take a couple of hours to brief him. I don’t know how I can spare the time.’

‘Prioritise. Look at your work and decide what’s urgent and what’s important. Only deal with things that are both. Schedule the rest in your diary. Is that possible?’

Ken’s shoulders drooped further. Truth was, he was busy but he tended to do the work he liked doing and taking his time over it. It was the work he didn’t like doing that was pressing. He nodded, knowing he’d have to take her advice.

‘Okay, so Jim can pick up on Jane’s work. That still leaves the situation with Miranda to sort out. Not to mention getting that report done on time.’

Jim’s groan was audible. ‘I don’t like conflict,’ he said, ‘what am I going to do?’

………………..find out how Jim tackles Miranda in next week’s episode.

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