Office politics or character building?

I work with some really lovely people and we all have a great working relationship. Usually. Sometimes however, things get a bit tense and we say things we shouldn’t have.

Yesterday I was mostly out of the office; my boss had to deliver a paper and I went along to coordinate things. My job was simple; make sure nothing goes wrong. Usually, that is not a problem. I looove things to go perfect, I’m a good organizer because I try to cover every angle. But of course, things went wrong.

It was a maximum security sort of thing with top government functionaries, so first I had to make sure my team of 7 got in with minimum stress. Then each person present had to get a printed copy of the paper to be delivered at the right moment. Timing was everything. It could not be before my boss took the stage; it had to be just before he began to speak. Fine, no big deal. The real trouble started with the Projector.

The PowerPoint presentation was ready. Projector all set. Boss up on stage. Screen…empty. Right, for some crazy reason, the screen just would not project what it was supposed to – my boss’s presentation. I barreled my way to the technician’s table to find out what on earth was wrong. Only to discover that the member of our team handling it was minus the USB drive that had the presentation on it. I couldn’t believe it! My boss had started speaking already. Luckily he was backing the screen or…. I don’t even want to think about what would have happened.

I tried to keep my cool, found the USB drive, got things running and went back to my seat. Later on I had words with the guy. I wanted to know what on earth was wrong with him. Luckily, I did not insult him. He finally explained to me that in his bid to do everything himself, the boss had taken the USB drive and given it to someone else to do God knows what.

I felt so bad afterwards that I apologised to the poor guy. But as I got home that night, i was still feeling guilty. I do not normally lose my cool – even when I’m angry. Well, except with my poor fiance. So I felt bad. I later sent an sms telling the guy how much his help was appreciated and what a fine job he did and that I was really sorry I got upset with him.

After sending it i became worried again. Most people around here try to bluff their way out of things. In fact, I’ve been regarded as weak before because of my tendency to apologise. I work with this guy, I did not want to undermine my authority. But anyway, I just gave it to God. But I learnt a very important lesson: always ask in a very calm (maybe even mild) voice, what happened before forming a conclusion.

Anyway, as I got to the office this morning, he greeted me with a large grin and thanked me for the sms. So, I guess I did the right thing afterall.


2 thoughts on “Office politics or character building?

  1. Sharon – it sounds like you handled the situation very well (and better than most). Not apologizing is a silly paradigm that we Western Thinkers created to (as you say) bluff our way out of our own mistakes. Congratulations on keeping your cool and maintaining your professionalism. I wish most of my teammates and colleagues acted as well as you… of course, then, I’d probably be out of a job.

  2. Thank you so much Timothy; I feel really good about it. Apologizing is not easy…it really took a lot for me to walk up to him and acknowledge my mistake. I’m just glad it turned out right in the end.

    Thank you so much for your comment; it is encouraging.

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