Taking accountability in other words… A very strong statement to come by but not many clearly understands and practice very often. Pointing fingers and passing the blame is what most people do. Me? I would rather try, do something, fail and get laughed at than do nothing and be loved by it. Not that I claim to be the perfect example of taking accountability, but I am confident to say that I do take my share in both taking the shot and pointing fingers like everyone else.
“John, I need to speak to you.” my manager called out to me briefly while speaking to another colleague.
At the back of my head I went Oh my God?! what have I done wrong this time?
There is something about a manager calling to speak to you for something that’s really scary to come by. One, you could get reprimanded for doing something wrong or two, there is more work for you to do. I personally prefer the later part but either of the two scares the crap out of me.
It is normal though. Getting more tasks place you out of your comfort zone and into the flames. Being in the flames is where fear creeps in due to unfamiliarity and uncertainty of what is to happen next. With uncertainty in the toll, you have not a clue of what to do and you may commit mistakes for it. Those mistakes are what most people lash you with unforgiving reverie.
Left in the dark. That’s what it is!
I acknowledged her request with utmost respect and stood by her side until she was done speaking with the colleague.
“Follow me into my office.”
Oh God! I’m really gonna get it this time… I earnestly thought and whispered underneath my breath.
We walked a short distance toward her office. Oh boy does it feel like miles and miles of hike towards the asylum. Even imagined it to be a meat grinding facility.
The operations floor was fully air-conditioned but my lower back was beginning to sweat. My heart pounded like the double peddling of a heavy metal drummer. Time slowed and I saw one person with his eyes affixed on me. Felt like invisible daggers were there to stab me.
Demon! Yes that person was! Well, that’s how I saw it during that brief moment in the chronosphere I was in. Felt a bit of insult and disgust but I gotta suck it in.
If I fall today… I shall fall with my honour and dignity intact. I held my head up high facing uncertainty with utmost content, accepting my fate… whatever it may be…
“Hi John, Take a seat…” My boss uttered with a smile on her face. I have not a clue what that meant but I knew there was something underneath that smile. Something sinister. Heaven save me!
“How is the training?” she asked. Now during this time I went through an 8 week or two month up-skill training course for our current process skill-set. It was an amazing training course but a whole butt-load of information to digest and apply in a short period of time.
“I find it great Ma’am. Though I must admit, I have my lapses during my time in the training room.” I coyly replied.
“Can you tell me more about these lapses?” she replied with a curious tone.
“Well, I do admit I often can’t help dozing off in the training room.” I took in a deep breath and released a big sigh.
“You do know John that you and (insert name here) are both in the executive/leadership team now. Everybody is expecting much from you guys and have high regards on what you do and how you perform.”
She paused to look at me straight in the eyes. It felt cold and chilling. Somebody turn that air-conditioner off.
My boss stood up. I leaned back. Fear gripped me by the throat. I thought she was gonna choke me or something. She then went near the air-conditioning control panel and adjusted the temperature.
“Gosh isn’t it cold in here?” she muttered.
I couldn’t say a word. I was frozen solid. Is she reading minds now? Is she psychic? OMG! I went on a paranoia craze.
“I know you John, and I love to think I know you. You are very intelligent and are always willing to go out of your way to assist others. But you need to understand that there are situations where you just can’t assist any further due to the restriction of the authority you have over the matter. Upon looking at the results of your evaluations, are you aware that you have a 50% pass rate based on the evaluations done on your calls?”
Oh God… this is it… she’s dropping the bomb.
She looked at me disappointed. I felt it. It wasn’t rocket science to figure that out.
“It reminded me as to how it was when you got promoted. You were reprimanded often but learned quickly and now became one of the best players in the team. You explained to me that that is how you learn, to commit those mistakes and to learn from them quick. The thing is, sometimes we can’t afford those mistakes.”
I beg to disagree… I wanted to say it… but I know I shouldn’t argue or it’ll make things worse. Kiss ass man! Kiss ass! I told myself but carried on with my chain of thought while she spoke.
Mistakes are essential for learning and growth. It should be part of management’s action plan to forecast tolerable risk and faults for every new trainees on the phones especially with a new skill-set. You can’t expect everybody to apply everything all at once thus the importance of risk and fault tolerance forecasting. After-all, the fails I had were considerably minor compared to others out there. Why am I the only one getting pounded on the meat grinder?
It felt like words were being placed into her mouth by someone even more diabolic. That person I believe was the asshole behind the curb…
“There was this call you had when you gave advise to the customer… you were marked down on that. Can you explain that please…” I picked up on my boss saying that line then followed with an immediate reply.
“Ma’am, I can explain that. I know the process well and I know myself better. I was taking a call when (insert diabolic manager’s name here) and (insert colleague’s name here) were sitting right beside me. I had to place the customer on hold to get the information I need by checking on the account when suddenly both of them gave me conflicting information that got me confused. Regardless of the fact that I know the process, conflicting information may create doubts and confusion that may cause that result wherein it did.”
I remembered that manager say, “if you know the process then you wouldn’t get confused.” Couldn’t help but say at the back of my head “If it were that easy, I would love to see you take my place and I be that back-seat driver you are in right now… would love to see how stupid you’d look with that!”
Definitely felt like I wanted to strangle that guy to death!
My manager gave out a sigh but said, “I know your capabilities John, and I don’t doubt your potential one bit.”
She continued by explaining to me how it is to be done the next time around.
I listened intently even if I already knew what to do, just to show respect of course.
“Ma’am, I’ll do what I can to make sure that doesn’t happen again. But I sincerely appreciate the feedback and will take it to heart.” I humbly acknowledged.
“I believe you John… You never commit the same mistake twice.” She replied with a smile and adjourned the session.
I swear it felt like crap but I’ll take it in… My manager was right after all. As for that diabolic manager… I’ll show that bastard that I’m better than what he’ll ever be.
I left that room heavy with thought. At the rate I’m going, I gotta get this real-estate business built quick! Before I even do something stupid.
Upon leaving the operation floor, I was greeted by these two lovely ladies (colleagues of mine) who were kind enough to lend an ear. Then I told them the whole story over dinner just to let lose some steam…