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One of my employees, only hired 3 months ago, was invited on a business trip with me (her immediate supervisor), my boss and about 10 other company employees. She was invited in recognition of the contributions she's made to the company in the short time she's been here and because she's seen as a "rising star". During the trip, we attended various meetings. At one of the meetings, my boss and I gave presentations.

I am disappointed this employee did not talk to either my boss or I the entire trip. She attended each meeting she was supposed to be at but left the room as soon as the meeting was over. I approached her once to make sure everything was okay - she said it was - but otherwise she made no attempt to communicate with anyone.

On a professional level, I think she missed an opportunity to network with her dept. managers as well as other company managers during the trip. On a personal level, while I thought she and I had a good working relationship, I am disappointed that she chose to "blow me off" the entire trip.

Gut check: don't say anything at all? Coach her on the missed professional opportunities? I'm inclined to leave my personal feelings out of this (although I think our relationship will suffer nonetheless). Or, coach her on both the professional and personal aspects of her behavior?

tomw's picture

I vote for "Coach her on the missed professional opportunities", maybe somewhere between coaching and feedback.

It's possible that she's focused much more on performance and does not yet understand what is necessary for her management/professional future.

Maybe she's more quiet and reserved? Maybe she wan uncomfortable being at such an event for the first time?

I think there are a lot of reasons she might have done that. The reason is not as important as what impact her behavior had.

WillDuke's picture

I'd bring it up in the O3. Just be honest and use good feedback. It sounds like it's a development issue for you, but you don't know yet.

Just like "personal scent" there might be something you don't know. Maybe she's shy. Maybe she had family in that town. Maybe she was feeling poorly and stayed in her room. If she's a rising star, odds are good that there's a reasonable explanation.

Bring it up, let her respond. Go from there.

jhack's picture

It wasn't clear from your post whether this was someone new in her career or experienced. In either case, this is not just her issue.

Did you discuss the opportunity with her (in an O3, perhaps) before the trip? Did you have reason to expect her to network effectively on the trip? Had you discussed what the goals for this business trip were? Did you sit next to her at meals?

Ask yourself: What could I do differently next time?

regas14's picture

Just give her some feedback. She may not have realized that the behavior was something people would notice and/or what the effect was. I would assume that as a "rising star" she would be very concerned with the impact of this behavior and will take corrective actions on her own.

Coaching would really only come up if she says something like:

"I don't know how to build and maintain a network."

"I don't know how to become a part of a group in conversation."

If that's her response I have a suggestion for resources that can help.

WillDuke's picture

[quote]I don't know how to build and maintain a network."
"I don't know how to become a part of a group in conversation."
If that's her response I have a suggestion for resources that can help.
[/quote]

Yeah, me too. MT podcasts.