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Management Anecdote: Taking People for Granted

03._howamidoing_200In life as in people management, one of the things that people dislike most is being taken for granted. It's so easy to happen. When someone performs out of their socks, what might initially have been exceptional performance soon becomes the expected norm. Instead of recognising that people are going the extra mile, managers can easily find themselves taking people for granted and saying nothing.

Saying nothing can also happen when people have just been taken on and are doing well. While we think that saying nothing is our way of saying, "You're doing fine", people may not realise this and need some kind of reassurance.

The following story is an amusing but very good management anecdote about taking people for granted.

"Taking People for Granted": the Anecdote

A young sales representative took time out during her coffee break to make a call from a public phone booth.

She rang a number and asked to speak to the Sales Director.  
"Could you tell me if the position you advertised some time ago is still vacant?" she asked. There was a pause. "Oh, it's gone. Pardon? You hired someone three months ago and they're doing fine. OK. Sorry to have bothered you. Goodbye."

A caller at the next phone booth couldn't help overhearing and offered her sympathy to the young woman.
"Never mind, dear. I'm sure you'll get something soon, " she said.
"Oh, no, " said the young lady. "That was my own company I was ringing. I just wanted to know how I was doing."

"Taking People for Granted": the Lessons of the Story

The lessons of this management anecdote are:

Don’t leave people wondering how they’re doing; tell them.
Don't think that people know how they're doing: tell them.
Don't assume that your saying nothing means everything's OK; tell them.
Don't let people worry when they hear nothing from you: tell them.
Don't let people go to extreme lengths to find out how they're doing: tell them.

For more management anecdotes, visit our Stories that Coach collection here .

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