Hey Guys, I'm in my third week of one on ones with my staff and generally speaking it has been going pretty good. I have had a good response from most of the staff while some are quit but with prompting open up about work or life. Until this morning no kick back on the meetings.

Here's a bit of background. I oversee 12 outside workers (equipment operators and labourers) who work 4-10's and as such don't get to see them in action on all the days they work. Due to this and the history at the site there has been an ongoing complaint of lack of communication. Once I stumbled onto the Manager tools podcasts and the trinity I thought my prayers had been answered.

This morning while in my second O3 of the day the staff changed her answer to my first question - how's it going - "I'm here". with a little prompting this unrolled into a "why are we even having these meetings?" - to "how come I'm being punished (written up for bonehead mistake) when no one else is?" - to basically having a bit of a tirade. I eventually told her if she wanted to leave she could (and did).

What I have been doing is reminding the staff about the

My questions are:

As soon as I knew she was having a bad day should I have just let her leave?

Do I just keep asking what it is that bothering her? (as I would rather she have it out with me than customers or the rest of the staff).

and finally, is kickback normal after the "honeymoon period" is over?


Thanks for any help,


acao162's picture

I haven't had any kick back from my directs over the years but I can see how it would happen.  You invite someone who has complaints about not being heard into your office & offer to "hear" them.  Well buddy, you are about to hear them all.  If this person has been in the org for a length of time, this might not be the last of it either.  Think about it from her perspective - here's a chance to tell management eveything they are doing wrong.

I think letting her vent for a bit and then suggesting she could leave was not great, unless you followed it with "why don't we meet again next week".  She might be feeling like she just got a free pass out of next week's O3 because of bad behaviour.  For myself, I'd review my notes, make a few inquiries about any complaints that could be improved and be ready to talk again next week.

I have found when my directs are upset in an O3, then next time I ask if they had something to share.  Try to be normal about the process.  In your 10 min. report on what you've done to address her complaints.  Is there a process change or did you get more information?  The few times it has happened, the employee used their 10 min to launch into another tirade about how unfair life in general and work in particular has been.  My 10 minutes helps them to see they were listened to and actions are taken when they can be.  Usually at this point we can identifiy together what else can be done or how we can move forward even without change.

Just keep swimming.  Relationships are hard work.

smuench's picture
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... Especially about continuing to hold O3s and let the direct know you heard them and are looking into their complaints.

You might also think about asking some of the questions on the bottom of the MT O3 form: 

  • How do you think we can do this better?
  • What can we do differently next time?
  • Any ideas/suggestions/improvements?

You should also read -- if nothing else it is reassuring that it's normal to have O3s blow up!