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How a manager taught a “sick” employee a great lesson

By Darryl Stewart, Head of the Herd

My workshop was over and most of the attendees had already left.  I was walking around picking up the feedback forms.

One of the attendees was standing in the corner talking on her cell phone, smiling and looking right at me.  As I got closer, I could hear her side of the conversation clearly.

“Let me get this straight, you are not going to work because you are sick unless I come and pick you up for your shift?”

“So what you are telling me is that you are sick unless I drive you to work in which case you are not sick?”

“… and if I don’t drive you to work you are going to call in sick?”

“…you may want to think about this a little bit before this conversation goes any further.”

“So what you are really saying is that you are going to decline this shift unless you get driven to work.”

“Is there some kind of unusual problem that makes it so important for you to get a ride today?”

“Okay then I think you should decline the shift, you should not be working today. I can find somebody else.  Let’s be more open with each other in the future okay?”

check markThis manager taught her employee that she can be trusted.  I think many of us would have tuned this person out and gone a bit postal when they started using blackmail to try and get a ride to work.  I don’t know what the issues were here, but I do know I was taught a lesson by a very smart front line manager in staying calm and professional and building relationships with staff.