Re: Inaccurate SMEs?

Subject: Re: Inaccurate SMEs?
From: Mark Baker <mbaker -at- OMNIMARK -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 17 Dec 1998 11:37:27 -0500

Geoff Hart wrote

>If that doesn't
>work, you may need to fall back a step and ask your own manager to
>intercede; that's definitely a last resort, since it gives the
>appearance that you can't handle your own problems.

Sorry, but I must be emphatic here. This is VERY BAD ADVICE.

If you are having an ongoing problem with another person in the company that
you cannot resolve quickly and amicably in one day and which is affecting
the quality of your work TELL YOUR MANAGER. This is why you have a manager.
Failing to inform your manager of a problem that affects your ability to do
your job or that affects the quality of your work is serious professional
misconduct.

This question of who should handle the problem is not at issue here. The
issue is that a manager must be informed if the quality of your work is
being compromised. Ask yourself this: If your mechanic finds that the guy in
the parts department is consistently giving him incorrect or defective parts
to install on your car, should he: a. tell the service manager at once, or
b. keep quiet about it, try to work it out with the parts guy, and only
bring it up with the service manager as a last resort?

It is up to the manager to decide whether the employee should be asked to
try to solve the problem themselves or if the manager needs to get involved.
Good managers will generally not intervene publicly as a first step. The
best response is usually to coach the employee on how to solve the problem
and to monitor their progress in doing so.

Whether you find your manager helpful or not in these situations, however,
understand that you have a direct professional obligation to your employer
to inform your manager of any problems that significantly impact the
quality, particularly the accuracy, of your work.

Be assured that your manager will not thank you if you let a problem like
this fester for months before finally saying something when there is a huge
problem and the company is faced with shipping defective documentation or
delaying a product release.

If you are simply having a personality conflict with another person, by all
means work it out for yourself if you want to. But if the quality of your
work is being compromised, TELL YOUR MANAGER AT ONCE. The quality of your
relationship with the colleague in question is strictly secondary to the
quality of the product your are responsible for producing. Never cover up
another employee's incompetence. In any situation like this, ask yourself,
how would I want the employees of the company that built my car to behave in
a situation like this. Act accordingly.

---
Mark Baker
Manager, Technical Communication
OmniMark Technologies Corporation
1400 Blair Place
Gloucester, Ontario
Canada, K1J 9B8
Phone: 613-745-4242
Fax: 613-745-5560
Email mbaker -at- omnimark -dot- com
Web: http://www.omnimark.com

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