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Casey is seated at his desk reviewing his human resource strategic plan when Lily walks in, obviously upset. Her facial expressions show she is upset, and after she enters, she crosses her arms while standing in front of Casey’s desk. Casey thinks Lily is a very hard worker and does an excellent job managing people as the manager of her marketing department. Lately, she has been having trouble with some of her employees.
“Casey,” she says, “I really need to vent. Can I sit down and talk with you?” Casey offers Lily a seat and she sits down. She tells Casey that Sam, a marketing manager, made snide and underhanded comments during a meeting this morning. “For example, when I asked the status on one of our projects, Sam said snidely, ‘Why don’t you ask one of your marketing assistants? They are doing such a great job, after all.’ I suspect he is upset with something I wrote on my blog last week. As you know, I started the blog to continually let employees know of changes in the department and to provide feedback. In last week’s blog, I wrote about what a great job the marketing assistants are doing in my department.”
Lily goes on, “So I pulled him aside after the meeting and asked him about his comment. He said that he was upset that I had given feedback to the marketing assistants because he feels that as their manager, it is his job to do that. He felt I had stepped on his toes and the toes of other marketing managers.”
Casey thinks about the situation and asks Lily if she apologized. Lily responds, “I didn’t feel like I needed to. I do think the marketing assistants are doing a good job, and I don’t need to apologize for mentioning that. I am just trying to raise morale among them. You know, two marketing assistants have quit in the last three months.”
Casey leans back in his chair and gives some thought as to how to advise Lily. He suggests that Lily speak with Sam directly (not via e-mail) and tell him that her intention was only positive and not meant to be harmful, and see what happens. Lily thinks about that and says she will try to see Sam later today. When she leaves, Casey sits back and thinks about how communication is one of the biggest challenges in any job, but especially in human resources.
The author introduces the chapter on employee communication