Conflict: Eli, an employee, has set up a recycling program throughout the building. One department consistently does not recycle appropriately. He’s put up signs and has instructed individual staff. When it’s mentioned to his boss, she says he’ll do something about it, but nothing changes. . He feels dismissed.
Cast: Michelle (Boss), Eli (Employee)
Eli (Employee): Hey Michelle, how’s everything going today? Looks like it’s been a busy morning!
Michelle (Boss): Yes, it has been! Been receiving a lot of calls this morning regarding situations that need to be addressed. Been juggling between tasks till now.
Eli: Yes, I’ve seen! Did you even grab your morning coffee?? I know you always grab one around 9 in the morning.
Michelle: No, I haven’t had the time until now. Just been running around. How about you, Eli? How’s everything going?
Eli: Good, can’t complain. I wanted to touch base with you and find out when you might have some free time. Know how busy things can get for you so just wanted to see what works for you.
Michelle: Well in an hour or so things should free up. Should have some time then. Why do you ask?
Eli: Well I just wanted to take out a couple of minutes to talk to you about the recycling program I’m working on in the building. Been having some issues with it as you know and really wanted to just pick your thoughts and brainstorm with you as to how we can make it operate a bit smoother. We can even grab some coffee while we talk, since you missed your morning run. Does that sound reasonable?
Michelle: Yes of course. I know you’ve spoken to me about that earlier. We’ll speak in an hour.
Eli: Great, can’t wait. Thank you
(Later that day they meet)
Michelle: So here we are, Eli. You have my attention. What about the recycling program would you like to speak about?
Eli: Michelle, I have always appreciated working with you in this job. I always see how committed you are in addressing the issues that come your way, even when it seems to be coming from multiple directions all at once. I’ve always related to your commitment to your work and I also want to be able to address any issue that comes my way not only for myself but also to make everyone’s life easier.
One issue that seems to be unresolved is the issue of the recycling program. As you know, I have set up a recycling program for the building. I take pride in the fact that I was given this responsibility and want to make sure that the things that you entrust me with are being managed thoroughly. Recently though, our marketing department has been having problems with recycling. I have spoken to them on several occasions, in servicing them on the reasons that we recycle, and where everything should be placed going forward. But it seems they still have not understood our program. As the manager to this facility, I know that your job is very demanding and that you have a lot more to worry about other than the recycling program, but the inability to find a resolution here even though we have spoken about this issue makes me think I’m being overlooked.
Michelle: Eli, I want to thank you for taking the time out to speak to me about the recycling program. I can clearly see its something that concerns you and that you’re taking very seriously. Secondly, I’d like to say I appreciate you here as an employee. It is my goal on making sure all team concerns are addressed in a professional manner and I want to make this a comfortable workplace for you.
So, let me just start by apologizing to you if you feel you were overlooked in this situation.
As you know from experience, through the past couple of weeks we have been heavily bombarded with extra workload and we have been prioritizing issues in the order of importance and turnaround-time urgency. That’s not to say the recycling program isn’t important, but we know how hectic time-sensitive issues can get. We can both agree though that this is an important issue that needs to be addressed.
Eli: I can totally understand where you’re coming from. These time-sensitive projects can get very hectic and we all have work to do. The last thing I want to do is throw more work on your shoulders. I simply want to complete the work given to me while being an asset to this company and the people who work for it. I just need all departments to comply with my instructions, and I’m asking you lend me support so they will take me seriously. If they don’t see you behind me on this, they won’t.
Michelle: Eli, I don’t want you to feel like you’re working in this situation by yourself. We are a team and though I’m busy throughout the day with multiple projects across different departments, there must be a way in which we can follow up on the recycling program consistently throughout the week without sacrificing a lot of time.
Eli: Exactly! I don’t want to take your attention from the projects that need it, but I think a little time given consistently to this issue will make a huge difference. I’d like to suggest each department appoint a “Recycling Leader” to manage the recycling program thoroughly and keep it sustained within their respective departments. We can hold quick meetings weekly, bi-weekly or whatever fits everyone’s schedule with all our recycling leaders and come up with the best solution as a group on what we can do to alleviate the recycling program situation. This will also help us to understand each department’s personal obstacles to recycling and empower them to come up with solutions. Delegating this to a department level also alleviates your need to spend large amounts of time following up with me on each department while more effectively tracking how we are doing when it comes to recycling.
Michelle: So, what you’re proposing to do is have a point person from each department or as you call it a “Recycling leader” take charge of their own departments recycling responsibilities, while we oversee their progress through quick bi-weekly meetings? I think that is a great idea! Not only are we letting the departments personalize their own recycling plan which will in turn make them feel more empowered and lessen the chances of them feeling intimidated by imposing rules on them, we also solve both of our issues. We will both effectively manage the recycling program together, backing each other up and conserving time while doing so. Let’s start thinking of people from each department that we can appoint as recycling leaders.
Eli: I’ll get right on it! And I want to say thank you for being so patient and taking this time to resolve this issue. It was frustrating me because I just didn’t think you cared, but I see now how busy things can get for you but that you care very much, and I appreciate you just settling this issue for me.
Michelle: My pleasure, Eli. That’s why I’m here, shoot me over the final details and who you think we should appoint. We finalize and get this program running smoothly. You can start by recycling your coffee cup.