Prioritize Access to be Aware of Priority Shifts.

The Good Enough, The Bad and The Ugly Behavior


Employee Split is brilliant when she shows up. Friendly, professional and so eager to help. Buuuut, something is off. Boss Perplexed has noticed that Employee Split has a hard time getting in the office consistently. It’s a change. During their monthly 1-1 meetings, Employee Split has sped through and is less chatty about her family than she used to be. Her work is good however there is something that Boss Perplexed can’t quite figure out. Other than asking what is wrong or if she needs help with anything, Boss Perplexed feels sad just thinking about it. But she wants to allow her personal space too. After all, Boss is the business owner and she knows that fact can make people uncomfortable to share.


Then one Monday morning, Employee Split no shows. That is a first. Confused, Boss Perplexed calls the home number. And it is like a whole other person is on the phone.

Employee Split sounds surprised by the call and asks Boss Perplexed to hold. When she comes back on the line Employee Split is quiet and speaking very slowly. She sounds disoriented. She tells Boss a story of a transmission problem on her car. Boss mentions it is 2 hours after she was due to show up. Boss Perplexed shares that she is disappointed that Employee Split didn’t call.

Well meaning, Boss asks if Employee Split can use a bus or a car service? Employee Split says she is waiting to find out about a tow truck. Boss asks if she is coming in to the office tomorrow because she seems so unsure and well, sketchy. Employee Split quickly says she was planning to get in that afternoon. Hopeful, Boss says great. They hang up with Boss truly scratching her head over the whole thing.

Then Boss takes the time to really review her behavior as of late. Employee Split definitely seems to enjoy her work. Heck, it almost appears she would rather work late than leave in the evenings. Her projects have been quality but she did miss the last couple of team lunches. And, of course, there WAS the day her mobile phone was ringing off the hook. She looked like she had seen a ghost ever time it went off. But she had sad she had a headache and that was all that was wrong.

Employee Split never showed up again. She didn’t answer when Boss Perplexed called to inform her of the termination. Her last check was cashed. But Boss Perplexed wondering…what WAS it? What had changed? Was there anything different she should have done?


TODAY’S LESSON: A Boss’ priority is your people. Their priorities are always changing.

This story is actually a collection of stories where domestic abuse was suspected. We say suspected because as a business owner we are not usually on the “need to know” list. A boss is torn between the humanity of it and protecting your clients and your business. You company DOES NEED reliable employees. And trust me, team members “no show” for A LOT of reasons (bad bosses, drugs, lack of motivation, health complications and many more!).

A Boss considers that the frustration of a late employee can be because a violently jealous partner is at home keeping them from leaving.

A Boss may notice that the employee does not like to answer business calls at home...but they may not know that it is because the employee is worried you will hear the way their domestic partner speaks to them.

Trust me, this employee WANTS to work for you. But they may not be ready to do the job that your company needs.

A Boss that has regular 1-1 meetings will have more opportunity to know when there has been a personal shift in priorities. They will also have the opportunity to build a safe space to speak and share. But the Employee may never let you in. They may worry you will fire them or they may worry more that you will ask them to leave their situations.

There is no happy ending here. Looking to take action? There can be a shift in your awareness.

A business owner hides from the human side of business by limiting their company’s growth to keep it easy.

A Boss builds a successful team with access and support because sometimes you get to help a human find the light. That is something to be grateful for in owning your business.



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