Why Do People Bring Their Personal Lives to Work?

“Why do people bring their personal lives to work?” Denise complained.  “I’m losing productivity.  Eight people on my team, one is out with a sick child, and one was late because his car broke down.  As the manager, I am held accountable for today’s lack of productivity, but it’s not my fault.”

“Really?” I asked.

“Yes, and you are partly to blame.  You say the manager is accountable for the output of the team.  You assume that each person on my team is doing their best and, as the manager, I am accountable.  Well, I feel like my feet are being held to the fire for the lack of productivity, but it’s not my fault that somebody’s kid got sick.”

“I agree.  It’s not your fault that somebody’s kid got sick.  You are not held accountable because someone was late.  You are, however, held accountable for today’s production.  You are the manager, THINK.”

“I think I am being blamed for something that is not my fault,” Denise pushed back.

“Looking at the production schedule, there are ten orders that have to be completed and pushed out the door.  You are the manager.  What are you going to do about that?” I insisted.

Denise took a big breath.  She wanted sympathy, but was getting no warm and fuzzies.  Finally she spoke.  “There are two people on another crew that I could probably borrow for two hours.  They are cross-trained.  That will catch us up most of the way.  But there is one order that won’t make it today.  I know the customer and I know the project.  I can call and see if we can delay delivery for one day.”

“You are the manager.  Do you have the authority to make those decisions?”

“Yes.  I do,” Denise clarified.

“So stop feeling sorry for yourself.  You are not accountable for someone getting sick, but you are accountable for today’s production.”

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