Unless you are a very knowledgeable gearhead, you’ve probably had the experience of something going wrong with your vehicle and heading to a mechanic. Hopefully, I’m not the only one who is immediately paranoid about the diagnosis offered. I’m always concerned that what I’m being told is causing a rattle is a broken motor mount that requires expensive repairs when it’s just a loose hose that could be fixed with a zip tie. By the way, if you think I’m exaggerating, read this article.
The mechanic situation is an example of someone with more knowledge and, therefore, more power taking advantage of you. You might be reading this while shaking your head and saying I would never behave that way. I’m sure on the surface that’s true. Let’s think, however, about another situation in which you might just be behaving just as badly and taking advantage of someone.
An employee leaves and you ask someone else to cover that work as well as their own. Given that most jobs take at least a month (and generally more) to fill, what are you doing to compensate that person for assuming the extra workload? Is it possible either to have several people cover or maybe some things just go undone while you go through the hiring process?
Another example. No one ever really leaves the office anymore. Email is never off and most people carry email access on their persons at all times. That said, we’ve all heard of situations where someone sends an email at night and when it isn’t answered in a few minutes, follow up with either a second note or a phone call. Unless it’s a major crisis, why can’t that wait until work hours resume? It’s one thing to make these demands of salaried management; it’s quite another to ask hourly employees to keep working outside of work since they’re not getting paid for the time.
Finally, when was the last time you said “thank you” to every member of your team? Sure, a paycheck is a nice “thanks” but you’ll be surprised how far a few kind words can go. It makes the folks with whom you work confident that you’re not the evil mechanic who is taking advantage of their situation. Willing to try?