Have you ever heard of senior week in Ocean City, MD? While it is not happening this year due to the pandemic, it is traditionally a week when high school seniors take over the town without their parents.
When my daughter graduated high school, she asked me if she could go to senior week, and she asked in front of her friends. I said, “OK.” I knew she was responsible and that she was going with an equally responsible group of girls whose parents I knew well, and that she would not put herself in a situation that required bail money.
I did not realize at the time that she really didn’t want to go. She only asked because she thought I would say no, and she could bow out with her friends and then blame her strict parents. Oops. I guess I should have said, “Let me get back to you” and then set aside some time to ask her when she wasn’t in front of her friends.
As managers, many times our employees ask permission for certain things too. Now that we’re all working virtually, such requests are more frequent. Some may ask for special accommodations like an ergonomic desk chair, a home printer, faster internet, etc. However, just as I should have given my daughter’s request more consideration before quickly responding, we need to ask our employees for more information too. We also need to factor in how our answer will impact the company culture as a whole. If we say “yes” to Sally’s request, does that mean we can’t say “no” to Betty’s similar request? And if we say “no” to everyone, will that negatively impact culture or productivity?
It’s always easier to say yes instead of no, especially in the moment, but we need to make sure we have all of the information first, so we can make the right call.
If you need help, contacting The HR Team is always the right call.