Facebook Dilemma

Scenario

Imagine you run a retail company. You find a Facebook account that is incredibly derogatory to your company. I think every company has unhappy customers but when you try to find out what caused the person to hate your company so much it turns out that the Facebook account holder is an employee. You have a policy in place to guide employees on using social media, which does state that employees should be respectful.

Options

What would you do?

Outcome

Well, this is based on a real event, at a real company. The manager of the webcare team who found this choose to contact the employee’s manager and ask them to have a discussion with their team member. The reasoning was that although the account was damaging to the company there was a bigger potential problem; a very unhappy employee.

It turned out that although the Facebook account used the person’s identity and a photo of them, they had never created the account and did not know it existed.  The webcare team then helped them contact Facebook and get the account removed.

In companies there is a temptation to look for a rule to solve anything negative. Managers often ask “what is our legal position?” or “what’s at risk?”, which leads to blame and punishment. By stepping back, thinking about what might be really happening and asking what would be lowest level of response to resolve the issue the company should a great deal of trust in their employee.

The course chosen to address the issue tried to use the “Most Respectful Interpretation” of the employees actions. The team thought that it could be a case of identity theft or that something terrible has happened at work and the employee is lashing out. The course of action chosen would lead to a swift resolution in the case of identity theft, or to the first step on resolving a serious issue if it had been the later case.

What would you have done?

Image;  Red pill/blue pill   |   tom_bullock   |   CC BY 2.0

The Two Most Important Words for Managers

thank youYears ago, during all the pressure of a work crisis, one of my team members who had just joined the team worked tirelessly with a demanding colleague to solve a tricky problem.  He was dedicated and patient, I was relieved he could find a solution by about 6pm.

By then I was in a meeting deep in discussion with colleagues, but one of the advantages of working in a glass building is you can see out. I spotted him leaving with his head down, bag over shoulder, hands in pockets. I excused myself and raced to catch him by the lift.

“Thank you” I said “I saw how hard you worked to solve that today and you’ve done good work!”

He smiled and straightened up. “It’s my job” he said shyly.

The look on his face made me realise just how important it was and in that moment I knew I’d be OK at this management thing (still learning!).

And those two words “Thank you” are the most important words from managers and leaders, and not just the generic “thanks for your hard work”. When you follow thank you with specific feedback that shows you have noticed their work the effect is powerful.