The Bad News Shuffle

The Good Enough, The Bad and The Ugly Behavior - 16

Today’s Scene: The Ugly Behavior

Today’s lesson is 100% a Boss “don’t”.  If you recognize yourself in this story, it is time to get a mentor or coach to help you improve your management skills! But I am skipping ahead.

Let me introduce you to Michelle Madigan.  Michelle comes from a background working within the financial services industry and currently works within charitable organizations for rescue dogs. (Nice switch, huh? Talk about moving into a field around your passion!). She is a logistics wizard. Need a mountain moved? She is the person. It is because of this that her career has left her consistently in charge and oftentimes a mediator. In other words…stuck in the middle!

Our story opens on Expert X.  Expert X is good at what he analyzes but very inexperienced at the people side.  At the time of this story, Michelle managed the support staff while the experts reported directly to the company’s owners. On this day, Expert X had to deliver some very bad news to a client. The tens of thousands lost kind of bad news.



Expert X calls in a staffer and tells THEM to make the client call. Expert X is their superior, and so support staff does what they are told.

When the call goes EXACTLY as you can imagine it would go, the staffer comes in to report the client would like to speak with Expert X directly.

Then it gets WORSE. Expert X proceeds to get angry and yell at the staffer! As if the staffer didn’t do their job well enough. I mean really let them have it. This was NOT the first time Expert X had followed this exact “workflow” so the staffer went directly to the Manager, Michelle.

Boss Action!

Today’s lesson: Being the Boss is NOT about dumping the hard stuff.

We have ALL heard this before, but I am going to say it again. Promoting or hiring people that are great at a skill or expertise to any kind of supervisory role (YES! Even if it is “only” an assistant) requires management skill too! If the ideal candidate does NOT have supervisory skills in place, it is the business’ responsibility to mentor or provide a coach. Whether that is consistent meetings on the topic with you or a professional outside your company is your decision. This will protect the stellar team you already have AND improve the likelihood that your Expert can be even more successful for your company.

You guessed it, Michelle is the Boss that rocked it.  She first called the client and handled their concerns. Then she met with her staffer to support their concerns and address conflict resolution should other problems occur in the future. She met with Expert X to inform him of his role and responsibilities as an Expert in their company. Finally, she had the business owners provide mentoring and a coach for Expert X.

All that could have been avoided if Expert X DID his own job AND knew what it meant to be a Boss. Because of this I would say the business owners missed a Boss action themselves. If they had been coaching from the beginning, it would have better protected the rest of their team.

Remember, the “support” in support staff is about getting work completed more efficiently. Not about cleaning up a supervisor’s mess!

Scale on Purpose!