Friday, April 04, 2014

Mostly it's about being able to bully people

Had a brief Twitter conversation about this yesterday.  In my working life I've had to deal with all sorts of personalities. I've worked with and for some great people. And I've worked with and for some terrible people.  I've supervised good employees and troublesome employees.

I've always considered it a given that people are going to have their quirks and their strengths and their weaknesses. And since we're not robots, those qualities are not going to be constants.  The secret to working with people, though, is tolerating the fact that they are people and figuring out how you're all going to get something done in spite of whatever is bugging you.

You do this best by being flexible and being respectful.  Most importantly you do this by resisting the bullies and the hypercompetitive Type-As and the atmosphere of suspicion and intimidation they tend to foster.  Simply put, in a majority of workplaces, unless an employee is behaving criminally or dangerously, there's no reason to fire or threaten to fire them.  Firing people is a serious and traumatizing action from which most people do not easily recover.

But the bullies do tend to run things and that's how you get stuff like this.
According to Landrieu, the plan would not touch employee protections in disciplinary matters. However, one provision appears to do just that.

The plan would eliminate service ratings, which now range from “Outstanding” to “Unsatisfactory,” replacing them with a goal-based “performance management system.” Again, Kopplin’s office would be in charge of that system.

In eliminating the ratings, the plan also eliminates an employee’s ability to appeal a poor rating.

That would be unnecessary, according to the proposal, because “written performance feedback under the performance management system is not an adverse action to punish an employee.”

However, it goes on, “once poor work performance has been established” — it doesn’t say how that would be done — that can spur supervisor monitoring and a report to the city’s personnel director. If the personnel director decides that the employee’s work hasn’t improved, then the employee could be disciplined — which he could appeal.

In effect, the new system would push back the point at which an employee can protest a supervisor’s poor view of his work.

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