Short in Stature
Kirby walked into Nancy’s office and said, “I need to talk to you.” He then closed the door and said, “I didn’t appreciate it when you challenged my new production scheduling plan in the meeting. If you had real concerns, why didn’t you wait to talk to me in private? It’s embarrassing to have someone trash my ideas and I don’t want it to happen again.”
Nancy, taken by surprise by Kirby’s response replied, “Well, I’m sorry if I embarrassed you. It certainly was not my intention. I just have some strong feelings about the schedule and simply said what I felt. It looked to me that at least two others felt the same way because it seemed to me like they were really biting their tongues when you outlined the plan.”
Kirby said, “I don’t think that is true. You were the only one who objected to the schedule. Besides your tone indicated that you were dismissing the plan as ridiculous. You are not going to get away with being disrespectful to me.”
Nancy then said, “I’m sorry you feel that way. You really caught me by surprise with the plan for the new production schedule.”
Kirby then responded, “I will not let you undermine my attempts to improve the way we do things around here. Nancy, you’ve got a bad attitude and you need to change it. If you are that unhappy around here, then you need to leave. We can’t tolerate any people who aren’t cooperative.” Kirby then left.
Nancy was in shock over what just happened. She felt terrible about Kirby’s reaction. Just then, Irene stuck her head in the door. She said, “It looks like little Napoleon had another temper tantrum. Was he in here chewing you out?”
Nancy said, “Yes, that is what happened. I should have known better than to challenge his ideas in the meeting. I feel just awful.” Irene said, “I know it was no fun for you but I really appreciate the fact that you shot down his idea. Everybody knows that his proposed new schedule would be a disaster. Besides, he’s so insecure that even the slightest objection by anybody gets misconstrued as a personal attack. People are afraid to say anything.”
Nancy said, “I don’t know what to say any more. We all have more experience than Kirby and have a pretty good idea about what will work with our production facilities. These meetings never go well anymore because we can’t disagree with anything that Kirby wants to do.”
Just then Cary walked in and said, ‘Wow! I just saw Kirby walking down the hall from this direction. What did he say to you?”
Nancy described the conversation again and Cary said, “That sounds like him. I think that you’d be a great supervisor, but this organization is so male-dominated that even someone like Kirby is tolerated. I know you are upset, but thanks for saying what you did. This new scheduling plan of Kirby’s sounds about as bad as the rest of his ill-conceived ideas. Because we’ve been a good unit in the past and still care about this place, we performance in spite of his incompetence. So it’s not clear to me that upper management knows how bad he is.”
Thirty minutes later Kirby went to see his boss, George Master. “George, I’ve had it with Nancy. She’s really got a bad attitude and is poisoning the well with her negativity. Every time I try to introduce a new change, I’ve got to deal with her. I want to start laying a paper trail to get rid of her. She’s got some friends in the department, and they tend to take her side on most things. If we get rid of her, the rest will fall in line.”
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