The Outcome

First of all, I hope everyone had a great Labor Day Weekend! I've got some good stories to tell, but I wanted to conclude my saga from last week first. I'm home today with the boys since they start school tomorrow (YEAH!). Perhaps tonight I'll get caught up with everyone since I haven't been online all weekend (for a change). So, without further ado...

After speaking to my co-worker and getting the very (or not so very) subtle impression that he wanted me to rally some troops to the cause, I was on the fence as to how to react. On the one hand, I wanted to support my co-worker, since I agreed with much of what he said. On the other hand, I probably would not have handled it the way he did. After much thought, I decided my best course of action would be to email my boss and blind copy in my co-worker. I basically said that the co-worker was going to talk to upper management about concerns he had, concerns which my boss and I had already dicussed previously. I mentioned that perhaps now might be a good time to raise some concerns about this team to the CIO, but that I felt it should come from him, as he reports directly to the CIO. I worded the email VERY CAREFULLY to show that I was sticking my hand out to help a friend, but not my neck.

Later that evening, around 7 pm, I get a call on my cell from my co-worker. He was a little panicked. He'd read the email at home and now was afraid that it might look like he was trying to turn people against this team. He asked that I talk to my boss first thing in the morning to make sure that was not the impression. I said no problem, but decided to call my boss right away. We chatted for a while and I made him understand that I felt if any concerns should be raised, he should be the one to do it. He'd been working with these guys for 3 years and knows what they're like. He agreed that perhaps it was time to stop putting up with the behavior and do something about it, and that he should bring it up with the CIO at his next one on one. He understood where I was coming from and that I was not trying to make waves. The behavior of this team is affecting the entire department in that location and now is starting to affect our location.

So the next day was the "big meeting". Later in the afternoon, I spoke to my co-worker to see how it went. It could not have gone worse. They talked for an hour and didn't address any of the departmental issues, just specific issues my co-worker was having with his bosses. Which ended up making him look petty. At the end of it all, the CIO told him he was disappointed that he was "stirring up trouble" in the department when we're trying to bring it together. This is after our CIO said he had an open door policy and wanted to hear the good and the bad. He said we need to be "honest with each other" if we're going to get anywhere. Howver, when co-worker tried to be honest in meetings and try to give alternative opinions (which we do all the time in our location), he was "contradicting his bosses" and "making them look bad". Bottom line is that now my co-worker, who really know's his stuff and at a minimum should have his boss' job, is now branded as a trouble maker.

For my part, my name was left out of everything. I don't know if my boss spoke to the CIO, but I've raised my concerns with him, and that's my job to do so. It's his job to take action. In the mean time, I'll do what I always do and try and get people to work together. If I was in the same situation, I don't think I'd have emailed the CIO the way he did. I would have worded things WAY differently and brought up the general issues without singling out anyone. I would have approached it from the "we really need to get better about this thing as I feel it's preventing the department from successfully working together". I have a pretty well refined method of covering my ass while trying to get things done. I've also found that if you approach difficult people from the perspective of asking for a favor when what you really want is just for them to do their job, you get better cooperation.


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