Re: Inaccurate SMEs and Respect

Subject: Re: Inaccurate SMEs and Respect
From: Mark Baker <mbaker -at- OMNIMARK -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 17 Dec 1998 14:03:50 -0500

Jason Willebeek-LeMair wrote

>Why does it seem that, every time that someone posts a "people problem" to
>the list, there are a flood of replies about going to their managers
>immediately? Aren't conflict resolution and people skills part of our
>professional toolkit? Can't this person work it out (or duke it out) with
>the SME?

There is a very important distinction to be made here. A "people problem" is
a problem that affects only your relationship with your co-workers. People
problems vary widely, and while some should always be reported, and some
should never be reported, there are many for which you have a great deal of
legitimate choice about how to handle them. It is legitimate to attempt to
resolve such problems between the two of you for the sake of building and
maintaining the relationship with your colleague.

A "work problem" (for want of a better term) is one that affects the quality
of your work, your product, or your productivity. It has direct impact on
the fortunes of your company and the lives, perhaps even the safety, of your
customers. You have an absolute responsibility to report all work problems
to your manager.

The difficulty is that many "work problems" have a "people problem" aspect
to them. In many cases, the "people problem" is the cause of the "work
problem". This does not change the fact that you have a "work problem", and
it does not change the fact that you are obliged to report the "work
problem". Concealing a "work problem" from your manager because it happens
to involve a "people problem" is always wrong.

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

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