An Executive Director is doing an exit interview with a front line manager, let’s call her Sue. Sue is a great manager and the ED is sad to lose her. During the interview it comes out that Sue is quitting and going to another agency because she does not want to drive her manager, a director in the agency, to and from work anymore. When the ED asks Sue why she did not just tell the director that she did not want to drive anymore, she replies that she was afraid to do this.
It was easier for Sue to change jobs than it was to confront her manager about driving her to work.
The director, when confronted by the ED, was shocked to hear that Sue felt this way. The director thought that it was not a big deal since they lived only a few minutes apart and was under the impression that her staff member was happy to drive her. Sue had agreed to the idea when it was first presented.
The mistake this director made was in not recognizing the responsibility that comes with her authority; one of those responsibilities is not to take advantage of your power. When she asked about getting the ride, she was asking from a position of authority over her staff member. This is inappropriate in all circumstances. Sue was not free, in her mind, to tell her boss that she would rather not have to plan every day around driving her to work.
So what is this ED to do? I think it all comes down to the ED’s judgment on why this director made this mistake. If this was an honest mistake, a question of not having the wisdom to know this was wrong, then I think the director should get a pass and some serious coaching on the rules to live by when you are the leader of others. If, in the ED’s judgment, this person did this in a more selfish way, calling her character into question, I think this could be a firing offense.
What do you think?
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