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am I a bad boss?
October 30, 1999
11:38 am
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eve
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Hi
I have run into a problem that to me seems either ridiculous or really threatening my quality of life:
during the last two years I started a business, got it up and running and now i hired my first employees. Whith the first one everything was ok, and she could help me with more than I expected and was very quick, so i could have novel things like a weekend off.
Now the second person has started and things (e.g. workload for me) are worse than ever. I knew before, that I would have to train her, and that this would take time. But training her seems to bring out the worst in me. We can't find a common way we see her tasks/ agree on the right way to do things. Last week she went home totally frustrated (and I think, crying) and I went home totally frustrated, not crying, but not sleeping all night, because I really was mad with her (and mad with me, because I know, that emotional reaction won't help).
This is difficult for me because I allways thaught, that I was good at teaching or trainig people. The main problem seems to be the way we react differently to mistakes (hers, but also mine). My view is: I point out the mistake, so she can leard how to avoid it. Her reaction is "She's blaming me, so I have to defend myself" including things like
I did't do it. (not true)
Somebody told me to do it this way (maybe missunderstanding)
It's not fair to expect that I know this. (I know, but I didn't mean to blame you)

If I make a mistake I normally also tell her, so that we both can learn how to avoid this in the future. Her reaction is confusing me, because she tells me, that's okay, she understands.

Is there some good advice how I can get away from reacting emotionally (angry) when this happens?

October 30, 1999
9:54 pm
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gal-ff
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IS THE 1ST PERSON YOU HIRED STILL WORKING FOR YOU? IF SO, CAN SHE DO THE TRAINING? DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHY YOU REACT SO STRONGLY TO THIS PERSON? DO YOU FEEL IT'S JUST HER AND HER PERSONALITY? OR WOULD YOU TREAT ANYONE ELSE THE SAME THAT DONE EXACTLY LIKE HER? DOES SHE RESPECT YOUR POSITION AS HER BOSS? SORRY FOR ALL THE ??'S...I'M TRYING TO FULLY UNDERSTAND

November 1, 1999
5:11 am
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eve
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hallo Gal-ff,

thanks for your answer.

You write that you are trying to understand - so am I - I never before experienced such a problem (and we only had 6 days together - isn't that unbelievable?). I think it must somehow have to do with our personalities and with the expectations we have.

Does she respect my position as her boss: when I ask her, yes. But: by discussing "every" little thing I try to tell her - no I think that could be part of the problem (at least for me?). I feel forced to be bossy, something I don't like to be.

The 1st person I hired is still working for me, but I don't like the idea to let her be responsible for the training, because she has only been here for 2 months, so she is also still in a learnig position. Aditionally, I noticed that I run into trouble when I notice a mistake, I dont like to get the answer "but Christine (the first employee) told me to do it this way" or "But I saw Christine do it this way" because then I have the feeling, that she is trying to take the blame and give it to Christine. First: I don't mean to blame, second: at some occations I knew this must be wrong, third: I don't want to hold Christine responsible for the training should be my job. fourth: It still leaves a bad feeling, because it could also be true.

I think I react so strongly to this person, because I feel forced to take things personally which I souldn't and normally don't. I have the impression that - no matter what I try - I end up being the unfair one who demands to much and I don't want to believe this.
Also I feel / am reponsible for the final outcome of our work and so I can only delegate things when I can trust the person who does it to to find most mistakes they make and admit them. This is something that's not likely to happen - and did'nt happen the few times I tried it out. But the result is that I feel bad about it ( because it's unfair of me not to trust her / not to let her do things).

I think the easiest way would be to end the employment, but still this would leave me with the feeling that I didn't give her a proper chance (and with the problem to find someone new who's different).

So what I will do is tell her that:

-I know she will need time to learn, and that is not the problem
- That I am the one responsible and therefore I need to be confident about my employees
- that I ABSOLUTELY NEED TO BE ABLE TO TRUST HER IF SHE WANTS TO BE A REAL HELP, and for that I need an
"open" approach to mistakes.
- that I feel sorry, because in some occations I overreacted.

How about that?
Thanks for your help
Eve

November 1, 1999
9:31 pm
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gal-ff
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wow! i think that you hit the nail right on the head with what you're going to tell her. i think that your employee should be grateful that she has a boss that is so willing to work at this. that you even care says alot..most employers have the attitude that there is plenty of people that are looking for a job and wouldnt have the care and compassion that you have shown. i really wish you all the luck but you sound like such a "together" person that i doubt that you'll need any "luck". i know the work-force would be alot better off if more bosses actually cared like you.
very best wishes...gal

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