Tina Lewis Rowe

Insights, Information & Inspiration

Being Busy Is Not Always Effective

Part Two of the SueJanTina Ant Eradictor Story

Remember the ant in my last article? The one who worked and worked on an impossible task and finally had to stop? I ended that article by asking if you know someone like that. I heard from many people who do–and a few who admitted to being that way. This post adds to the first article.

 Being Very, Very Busy About The Wrong Things

Someone with whom I used to work was like that ant in many ways. She was busy, busy all the time and we couldn’t figure out why she wasn’t getting her work done. That is when we discovered she was taking on tasks she wasn’t supposed to do, because she liked those better. Volunteerism and creative initiative can’t take the place of doing one’s real job.

Many offices have one or more employees who seem to be involved in Heculean labors. They sigh heavily, talk about how early they arrive and how late they stay.  Often they try to drag others into the drama of their work by asking for excessive help, making every request a rush job and generally being a pain in the neck. 

Ironically, often the work being done by those employees isn’t vital work anyway. It’s a big crumb that didn’t need to be moved in the first place and won’t be useful when it is moved.  Many managers and supervisors allow that to continue because it’s difficult to tell someone who seems to be working hard that their efforts are resented and ridiculed more than appreciated. 

Are you that kind of employee? If you are the kind of employee who feels you are doing far, far more than anyone else because of the hours you work , the way you rush around or because you’re over your head with busyness all the time, consider how you might appear to others.

Instead of seeming to be dedicated and hard working, you may just appear to be showing off, disorganized or foolish. Are you doing your real work to the degree needed or are you creating work so you can impress others?

Do you  manage or supervise the work of an employee like that? If you are a manager or supervisor with an employee who has become a joke for his or her excessiveness about work or attempts to seem like the only one working, take action to bring that back into balance.

*If you evaluate the situation and decide the employee is truly inundated with work, see about realigning it to be more equitable.

*If you think the employee’s heart is in the right place but he or she simply isn’t managing time well, do some one-on-one training about that and consider reassigning work.

*Stop work that is requiring far more staff and resources than the end result justifies–and don’t reward attempted martyrdom. 

*Be direct about the ineffectiveness of the employee’s work and the negative effect it is having on others.

*Provide guidelines, set parameters and discuss what the employee should be doing more of and less of and what they should not do again.

That is the manager’s kinder and more gentle version of SueJanTina, the miracle ant eradicator.

September 29th, 2010 Posted by | Challenging and Problematic People, Life and Work, Personal and Professional Development, Supervision and Management | no comments

No Comments »

No comments yet.

Leave a comment