Yesterday I ran into a previous employee (let's call her Ms. K) who at one point had not been happy with my decision as her boss.
The conflict occurred when two project officers in my team were fighting over a South-America file. At the time, I was a newly minted director and figured they could settle their differences without my intervention. Alas the dispute dragged on and I finally had to call both employees into my office.
Having heard their cases, I ruled that Ms. K should not lead the file, based on my understanding of the employees' job descriptions. This somewhat bureaucratic decision of mine did not go well with Ms. K and she left my branch soon after.
A couple of years later, I called up Ms. K and asked if I could seek her feed-back on my "performance" as her boss, esp during the period of conflict. She was appreciative of my request and provided me with her frank opinion.
In retrospect, I should have made my decision based on who could have done a better job with the South America file. The responsibility of a director is first and foremost to deliver results, as opposed to adhering to a certain organisational structure. Sure, deviations from an established job description might be ground for a grievance but the risk of losing a high-flyer should not be underestimated.
I am happy to learn from Ms. K yesterday that she is now a director. More importantly, we remain friends !!
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