There have been increasing reports in recent years of disgruntled, perhaps fired, employees who return to their ex-employers to exact revenge on former supervisors. The meeting profession is not immune.
An Ernst & Young study found that malicious employees caused 35 percent of losses according to a survey of 870 corporate executives. Computer vandalism has included physical sabotage, installing viruses and corrupting data files. These kinds of incidents are part of the unrecognized fallout of living and working in a speeded-up society, which throws more items and information at the typical working individual than anyone can realistically respond to.
Lacking a balance between work and play, responsibility and respite, “getting things done” can become an end-all. We function like human doings instead of human beings. We begin to draw a link between executing the items on our growing “to do” lists and our feelings of self-worth.
In a TIME Magazine cover story years back, “Drowsy America,” the director of Stanford University’s Sleep Center concluded, “Most Americans no longer know what it feels like to be fully alert.”
Overwhelmed and under-appreciated?
Whether you supervise a staff of dozens or merely one other person, recognize that the people with whom you work are likely to be deluged by all that competes for their time and attention. Each time you ask them to …
- Take on another task
- Work a little faster
- Read and follow a new set of instructions
- Come in a little earlier
- Stay a little later
- Or give a little more
… you must temper your request with the understanding that they might already be on overload. Any request by itself would not likely cause significant problems in the workplace. Added to what they may already face, however, your employees might not unable to handle one more thing on their plates.
If you want to add some new responsibility it probably makes sense to remove one as well. Develop the habit of assigning only what is crucial for effective operations. As often as possible, give your staff some slack. It’s needed now, more than ever. Viewed from 2025, 2015 will appear as a period of relative calm, when life moved at a manageable pace.
Recognize that, hereafter, you and your staff will face an ever-increasing array of items competing for your attention. It’s time to make compassionate, if difficult, choices about what to ignore versus what merits attention and action. We owe it to those we supervise.
Does your work experience make you feel like a human being or a human doing? Please share your comments below.