#526  Innovative Leader Volume 10, Number 3          March 2001

FORUM—from our readers

Lower-Level Employee Makes a Major Contribution

Two years ago, we had a new head of our department.  She came from another company and, within three months, hired two individuals from her previous company.  The problem was that the department head only relied on these two people.  That would be OK if they had a lot of experience in our type of work, but they didn’t.  In fact, they knew hardly anything about our field of work.

That left us, the productive staff, essentially under the two intermediaries.  Besides their ignorance, these two competed with each other.  Each wanted to be the one to tell the department head of some good or bad news.  When these two were together, the friction could light a match. The funny thing is that I believe the department head had no inkling of this friction.  We never had department meetings where an open--to everyone--discussion of issues occurred.

Some upper-level decisions about our department made no sense.  I assumed they were based on the department head’s recommendations, which were based on what her two henchpeople told her, which were based on what each felt would provide a positive spin for himself.  We workers continually complained among ourselves about these two intermediaries.  However, no one would take the chance to tell the department head, or higher.

Let me tell you what I did.  I wrote a letter to the company president explaining this destructive situation.  After I had a close work colleague read it, we signed off, “Two employees very dedicated to this company.”  We didn’t sign our names though.

Two months later, the department head and her two intermediaries are no longer with the company.  We’ve got another outsider as department head, and she has a lot of contact with us.  She’s especially impressive as she is trying hard to learn the ins and outs of our work.

I’d like to feel that I, a lower-level employee, made a most important contribution to the company.  Or, maybe, the old trio would have been let go in spite of my letter.  No matter, I feel good!


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