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When an area is discussed or new assignments handed out, there is more attention. If any questions are asked or comments made, it is very apparent that the supervisor is barely listening to the feedback. She has a message to send, and that is the agenda. However, the sharing of information between individuals is at minimum, and the "any questions," at the end of the meeting is greeted with silence. The way the people walk away from the meeting shows negative body language, as well: Slow moving, heads down, or "looks" at other people.
As can be surmised by the above description, there is very little participation from those who assemble. Give-and-take between individuals is at a minimum. When a change or concern about a specific procedure is being discussed, then there is some two-way communication. However, the supervisor cuts it off after a few sentences and says for the individuals to talk about the details later. When each person is asked the status of his or her work, the answer is quick and to the point. There is no sharing of new ideas, just status quo. As noted above, when new assignments are given, the supervisor makes sure that the person has heard the request. If the person does not understand exactly what is needed, he or she waits until a later time to ask the supervisor or another individual rather than at this time.
Since this meeting is held every week, everyone clearly knows what is expected of him or her by the supervisor: That is, to report any status change that has not already been handled and to let everyone know if there is a major change that is going to significantly impact work patterns. All people attending this meeting know that any sharing of ideas or more than cursory communication is not expected or condoned. This is a very cut-and-dry meeting, 15 minutes long, with a specific agenda to follow.
The supervisor has already made most of the decisions prior to the meeting. When assignments are handed out, no one is going to say that it is impossible to do the work unless it greatly interferes with a standard process. At that point, there may be a couple of questions directed to the supervisor, but these are answered with the understanding that the decision has already been made to go ahead; the questions are a moot point. After the meeting, there are some times when an employee will talk further with the supervisor to get a better understanding of the project or to voice any concerns.
Of course, it is difficult to understand why most people stay with their jobs, why the supervisor is given her continued authority, and why the president does not do something to improve the situation (since it can only have a positive impact on the company if employees have a better chance to communicate and learn about the operations through team exchange). Some people, as noted, enjoy their work enough to ignore the supervisor, and some just feel that the bad known is better than the bad unknown. The supervisor continues in this role, since the president is not asserting his authority. Also, the supervisor will have a difficult time acquiring another job somewhere else given her overall work attitude and abilities in many areas.
The major question is why the president does not do anything, especially since he knows how bad this situation is. He may also be content with status quo, but status quo in this competitive market is not enough. or, perhaps he does not like confrontation. Whatever the case, the same situation goes from week to week and continually gets worse. Regardless of how much employees like their work, they reach a certain point that the dissatisfaction from the communication overtakes the pleasure in the work. This is too bad, since the company will lose valuable employees due to something that is not difficult to change for the better. Making improvements to the communication process would be quite easy, since no one has great expectations -- only wishing to be listened to and heard and being able…[continue]
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