It’s been a rough week.
Annual Enrollment materials from two of the carriers arrived with errors again after already being sent back twice! An employee relations issue that we settled before the holidays reared its head again. Another employee tried to play games and double talk to avoid providing documentation relating to his FMLA request. I had to re-order a reprint on a bunch of forms after brand standards made logo changes for the fourth time in 3 months. And I had to terminate an employee following a physical altercation — and that employee called me a “crack monkey” (whatever THAT is?!?) and some other 4-letter words before threatening legal action and hanging up on me.
Not 5 minutes after the “crack monkey” incident, my phone rang again. It was one of Operations Managers with a question about an employee’s benefits. An employee was resigning without notice due to a personal issue and wanted to know if we could suspend benefits premium deductions for the final paycheck. Based on the benefits class, we had the right to deduct the premiums because coverage would run through the end of the month. The Ops Manager knew that. So did the employee.
Not to mention, this particuplar employee was involved in an issue about a month prior that I had to help resolve. And that employee was not kind or cooperative. At all. Now this person wanted a favor?!? This person who was rude and gave me ‘tude wanted me to bend the rules to help him out?!? After the day I’d had?!? After just being called a ‘crack monkey’ a few minutes ago?!?
Pssssh! Whatev, dude! Bite me! Too bad, so sad!
That’s what I was thinking.
But that’s not what I told the Operations Manager and the employee.
Instead, I took a deep breath and I said, “I am not in the best frame of mind to answer this right now. Let me look into the options and call you back in the morning with an answer.” The manager balked a little and tried to push me for an answer right then, but I didn’t budge. I told him that I would follow up in the morning.
And in the morning, I called back and we worked out a solution. The employee was really grateful and thanked me for helping him after he’d been such an ass to me before. His words, not mine — but true, nonetheless.
Sometimes, as busy managers juggling multiple issues and competing priorities, it is hard to slow down. We go from one issue to the next problem to a previous conflict to another challenge and around and around and back again. Our minds are full of facts and our bodies are full of adrenaline and we just want to get it all done so the day can end … and just when we think it’s over — BAM — here comes something else!
Inhale, exhale. Repeat.
If you can’t evaluate the issue as it’s own unique thing in that moment, STOP! Take a break and get your mind right. There’s no weakness in that. However, it’s weak and wack to make decisions about one thing based on residual emotions from something else.
Each issue deserves it’s own moment to be the center of attention. Each employee deserves to have their concerns addressed through the lense of their circumstances and not the fog of all the other stuff you’re dealing with. Get clear so you can be clear, concise and consistent in your dealings.
And if you have a spare moment, google “crack monkey” and let me know if you find out what it means …