I’m not so great at the management thing. Actually, I’m not so great at the management thing when it comes to raising flags on behavior or addressing anything negative. As long as the team is doing well, I can manage and follow-up on the day-to-day. But when I have to communicate something regarding their performance, I suck.
And I suck because I’m so worried at how it will be received (which is almost always negatively, ’cause who responds well to criticism, really?) But anyway, I always hope that everyone will be mature about it and realise I’m just doing my job, but yeah, wishful thinking!
Well, my boss was out of office for a week, two weeks ago, which meant I was left to manage the team, and much to my surprise, things went relatively smoothly, with the exception of some unexpected leaves. Some of the girls on the team would send a message to our WhatsApp group early in the morning letting me (and the rest of the team) know that they wouldn’t be coming in because of cramps (sorry to all the men reading this – this will be a reoccurring theme throughout the post). This didn’t happen on the same day, but in one week I had two girls not show up to work (out of a team of 4, this was a little excessive). Not knowing what the precedent was on this, I wished them well and said I’d see them the next day. When my boss came back, she told me that this isn’t the norm and that they would’ve never pulled this if she was in town – I felt like a class A idiot.
This morning, a different girl on the team sends me a text telling me she wouldn’t be coming in because she has cramps and it’s really cold outside (’tis true – rain and gloomy temps of 9 in April!) I figured that since this is the 3rd incident of PMS in less than 3 weeks I would send an email out to everyone (not singling any of them out) to explain that while I understand that periods can be a bitch, it doesn’t excuse an entire day off from work and that if nothing else, they can take a couple of hours to themselves and come in when they’re feeling better.
Boy oh boy did that create a shit storm!
First, my boss told me that the email was a little misplaced and that I probably shouldn’t have sent it (since the other two incidents happened a while ago). I explained that I’m only trying to set boundaries since we don’t want this becoming a habit – and while she understood, in her experience she finds that it’s probably best to deal with these situations case by case and individually. My bad.
Second, one of the girls on the team proceeded to tell me that they are entitled to 3 sick leaves a year without notes. I explained that I’m fully aware of the procedure and that I was just sending a general note so that it doesn’t happen too often.
Third (and best of all) – the girl who took leave for the day, emails me back (with the entire team on Cc as well as my boss) and proceeds to tell me that I’m being subjective and that her cramps have always put her out of commission and that if needed she’d get a note or use one of her “unreported” sick days.
Holy balls it was just a bloody email!
So my boss does damage control – replies to the team and explains the email wasn’t meant to single anyone out and that it’s just another email explaining procedure, and that basically shut everyone up. But I still felt like a douche.
So during our weekly internal session – I brought it up. It was clearly the elephant in the room and I was going to die of guilt and shame at messing up such a simple, procedural task. I told them, in clarification, that I understand how crap periods can be but that when it can be helped, they should try to come in to the office. They voiced their concerns and we cleared it up. But I felt (and still feel) like a royal ass.
Was I totally in the wrong? I mean, I’m a woman too – I get the monthly visits from Aunt Flow – I don’t skip work!! Once I went in to work at 10 instead of 8:30 because my cramps were so bad I couldn’t sleep. But that was once. In 18 years of periods, I went to work late ONCE.
Anyway – it’s over now but I feel like if I was making any kind of progress with the team, I totally destroyed that. Also, I worry that my boss might take this incident as a clue to the fact that I’m clueless at managing people.
I’m not sure what fed into what, but the weather is super cold and it’s rainy and we got about 2 minutes of sun today. Also, I’m wearing boots that I’m not totally in love with and have been self-conscious about my appearance all day. None of this is helping the pity party I’ve decided to throw myself today.
Here’s hoping tomorrow will be less of a disaster.