I used to be the person at my office who was responsible for staff supervision, until I got sick of not getting support from anyone and stopped doing it. (Yes, I can do that.) So now, four years later, the two people who are supposed to be supervising have found that it's infinitely easier just to talk to each other (whine and complain and generally get worked up) about problems with the people they are supposed to be supervising. Or they talk to me. If there's a problem with one of the staff members, no one tells them so guess what? That's right! They keep on having the same problems over and over and over. Can you see how this could drive me crazy?
The current manifestation of this problem is with Karen. She sent an email several weeks ago to S (yes, one of the supervisors), asking her to talk with J. regarding a raise (who is S's supervisor). S. then forwarded that email to me, asking how I thought she should handle it, given the fact that when J. hears about this, his head is going to explode. I wrote her back with several options. I did that because S. is a friend I've worked with for a good decade or so. It doesn't really matter what the options were, but suffice it to say that I provided her with a couple of ways to sidestep the issue and a couple of ways to be honest. I was fairly certain that honesty would not be the chosen route, since it would involve a certain amount of confrontation and, hence, dealing with Karen when she started to cry. Karen's a big cryer and I can't think of anything more likely to cause her to cry than actual constructive criticism.
Yesterday, I was sitting in S's office when she brought up the dreaded raise problem. She had just decided to ignore the email. I don't know--maybe she thought Karen would take a hint. Well she thought wrong. Karen got tired of waiting and forwarded the original email to J and the owner of the company. As we discussed this turn of events, J. walks in and S. has to tell him what we were talking about. The first words out of his mouth were, "Well, she doesn't want to hear from me." Nothing that Karen does makes him happy. There's absolutely nothing positive he can say about her. So what's the solution? Well, he could actually think about it and find specific areas in which she should improve, but oh no, that would be too hard.
This morning when I'm talking to S., J. starts again. "She doesn't want to hear from me because she never does anything right." I suggested that since she doesn't do anything adequately, maybe now is a good time to give her oh i don't know some idea that they're unhappy with her work. Oh no. Heavens no. He tells S. to deal with it.
Doesn't he get it? S. doesn't want to deal with it. They'd much rather sit around a whine and complain about her (and several other people on staff) to me and to each other. Oh my God this drives me absolutely fucking insane!
Okay, that's it. I'm through complaining for the day (I think). We're having happy admin professional day today at lunch. Oh boy. That'll be fun.