This is the first time I am writing to you, and I do hope you can give me some advice on an issue that has been concerning me.
One of my co-workers with whom I have grown close, has been having some family/relationship issues of late. To paint a picture so you can better understand without delving too deeply, this woman, mother of two boys, recently 'broke-up' with her partner (not married). This relationship, like any relationship had its ups and downs, and came to an end due to a confrontation that became physical. He has since moved out, and she lives in an apartment with her children. Being the father of her children, she has not been able to fully sever all ties that they once had.
Now to the topic that has been troubling me greatly. As with anyone who lives in this country, at some point together they apparently filled out an HDC form, and were put on a long waiting list. For this family, the wait is coming to an end and the once distant dream of owning a home is very near. However, this dream can become a reality ONLY if they work together.
So my question is this. Even if she is willing to forgive her partner of years for the physical, mental and emotional abuse and go back for the sake of the children to move into this house, is it a good idea, and what steps can be taken to avoid a situation where she goes back and just becomes complacent?
A Troubled Friend
Dear Troubled Friend:
Sorry to be only now answering your letter. Look, I do not really like to pontificate on issues of the heart. However, your e-mail - about your friend's situation - concerns children and the long dream of owning her own home. So how do the scales weigh between: shelter, the rearing of children, and both emotional peace AND physical safety?
First of all, how old are these children? Are they very young, or pre-teens or teens/young adults? The older they are the more they should be able to take care of themselves. That is, if they were reared with love and taught spiritual and moral values. Now, forgive me for writing this, but your friend herself does not seem to have been able to show that she is capable of handling her own issues.
How can she even think of going back and again living with a man who has - if her side of the story if completely true - shown her so much disrespect, mentally, emotionally and PHYSICALLY? Did the "children" witness this horrible scene or episodes of her depression?
If that happened in the house they once shared, it could become worse when both of their names are on the house that will belong to both of them. As her friend, let her see that changing four walls and a roof for another four walls and roof will not work. They both need to get professional counselling. But in the end it is her life and the wellbeing of her children that should be paramount.
Please let me know if it is right for a manager to yell at subordinate staff in front of a customer, just because that staff made an honest mistake. Isn't a manager supposed to take that staff member aside and reprimand her privately?
I am fed up with this Manager embarrassing me like this. It has happened twice this month.
Yes, you did sound upset on the telephone. I would like to start by asking you to stop describing yourself as "subordinate" staff. This word smacks of "secondary", and "treats or is regarded as of minor importance". You are a staff member reporting to a supervisor (perhaps), and/or a manager.
Embarrassing staff in front of a customer is not good management. But even though asking the staff to come to the office so the mistake that happened can be talked about privately, is positive, it is simply not possible to do this all the time, because the "production line" cannot be always stopped and suppose the customer having asked a question, has received wrong information and now starts to move away?
Please look carefully at a formula that I have put into practice for many years. It has four steps and is called by me: Correcting a Staff member in Front of a Customer (wrong information being given out by a staff member is overheard by the Manager).
The Manager/Supervisor MUST ensure that her/his voice is low, controlled and pleasant
Step 1: Manager says "Excuse me" to the customer
Step 2: Manager touches staff on the shoulder
Step 3: Manager verifies what she thinks she heard and using the name of the staff asks the question e.g. "Mary, did I hear you tell the customer…….etc. etc
Step 4: If this is confirmed by Mary, the Manager must gently say "Remember" and then give the correct info to Mary, who should be the one to apologize to the customer, giving the correct information.
But "Upset" you have told me that your "mistakes" happened twice this month. Do you not therefore think that you should be looking at yourself? Do you really understand the work that you are doing? Are you afraid to ask questions about certain aspects of your job?