You've recently been promoted to a supervisory position and are now responsible for coordinating the work of four other employees. Two of these workers are more than 20 years older than you are, and both have been with the company much longer than you have. Although you've tried to be supportive of them and have gone out of your
way to praise their work, whenever there is some kind of disagreement, they go to your boss with the problem. You've asked them repeatedly to come to you with whatever issues they have; they just ignore you and complain to other workers about reporting to someone your age. Design a strategy for dealing with these workers and your manager.
MANAGING A DIVERSE WORKFORCE
After two years of sales calls and persuasion, a large, multinational petroleum company—Big Oil Ltd.—decides to sign with your employer, Secure Bank. Since Big Oil is headquartered in Saudi Arabia and most of the meetings with the client have been in the Middle East, Secure Bank's senior executive in charge of oil and oil products companies, Julie, has not attended. Although the Secure Bank employees who have met with the company have told the Big Oil executives that the lead on their account will be a woman, the news must not have registered, perhaps because of language difficulties. Today, the Big Oil reps are in Chicago to sign on the dotted line and meet with Secure Bank's senior managers, and of course, they've met with Julie. A member of your sales team calls you to say that Big Oil's senior team member has told him he does not want Julie to work on their account, period. Because of cultural issues, Big Oil execs are uncomfortable dealing with women from any country. As Julie's manager, what do you do? Can you think of ways to respect Julie's expectations and those of the Big Oil executives?
MANAGING UPAND ACROSS
As an operations professional, you need to be able to interact effectively with many internal customers—from corporate managers to field representatives. One of your peers is Jessica, who is a talented operations professional but who is downright rude to her internal customers. Her attitude is so bad that people around your company ask specifically to deal with you instead of Jessica. You've heard many tales about her sarcasm and her unwillingness to deliver anything other than the absolute minimum to other employees. You've thought about talking to Bruce, the manager to whom both you and Jessica report, but you and everyone else knows that they're dating. In the meantime, your workload is increasing because of Jessica's reputation. How do you handle Jessica and Bruce?
Firstly, I would critically review my leadership approach to see the things that I am doing wrong that make my older subordinates go to my boss instead of coming to me with their issues. It is possible that I treat the older employees differently from how I treat their younger peers. The second thing that I would do is to outline how I expect my subordinates to perform their duties. In outlining my expectations, I would ensure that they apply to all the four employees equally regardless of age differences. Thirdly, I would arrange a meeting with all of my subordinates and inform them that any work-related issues that arise must be reported to me first, and not to any other person.
I would clearly outline the line of command, and let my employees know that they report to me. I would meet each of my subordinates individually and explain to them that I expect them to bring any issues to me before ...
This solution discusses how to handle different situations in the workplace. The solution explains how a manager can handle older employees. It suggests a strategy for dealing with older employees who have a problem reporting to someone younger. The solution also discusses how to handle multiculturalism, and outlines what to do when a client refuses to deal with a female employee due to cultural beliefs. Lastly, the solution discusses how to deal with rude colleagues.