Management Problems Advice?

  1. In the facility I work for the department supervisor is greatly lacking in communication skills. She has old school knowledge and hasn't updated her skills it a very long time. Everything she says is "you have to" "it must be done" she is also full of negative comments. I always ask those under me if they "can do" something or if they "can help me complete a task". The problem is that she is in good with our director and I can't stand the way she acts. It kills me! twice before I have approached this head on and it didn't go very well. Do you guys have any advice how to handle people who are incompetent, undereducated, and have inadequate communication skills?
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  2. 8 Comments

  3. by   Jolie
    What do you hope to accomplish?

    Is she your supervisor, or the supervisor of another department whith whom you come in contact?

    If she is your supervisor, and you believe that she is treating or evaluating you unfairly, then I suggest that you make a log of specific incidents and request a meeting with her. You will get nowhere, but will at least have written documentation to combat any unfair or inaccurate statements she may make on your evaluation.

    Beyond that, there is nothing you can do. Her relationship with the director is none of your business, and if you try to interfere in it, you will regret it.

    "Do you guys have any advice how to handle people who are incompetent, undereducated, and have inadequate communication skills?"

    Yes. Do your own job, do it very well, and don't get drawn into conflicts with other people whom you have no authority over.

    Good luck!
  4. by   P_RN
    When you say you approached this head on....how? Did you say NO I can't? What skills does she lack beside communications?

    What does the manager say that makes you feel that she is old school? You need to.....you have to....?

    What would the reaction be if she said can you do?...and the responses was NO?

    She is the manager and may have information that the rest of the staff doesn't have.

    On that note, if you don't like the work conditions or feel that you would be better served elsewhere, think about what happens the improvements you expect aren't at the next job.
  5. by   llg
    I notice that you are relatively young and probably don't have much experience working in the health care field and/or working with people of different generations as part of the adult work force. Could it be that your youth and inexperience are contributing to your problems in establishing a positive working relationship with this person?

    I am not saying that you are totally wrong -- and I am not saying that the other person is totally right. What I am trying to say is that it usually "takes 2 to tango," as the saying goes. Communication is a two-way street. Are you doing everything you can do to relate to HER generation? The work world is made up of people from all generations. Just as the older workers need to make a few accommodations for the younger people they work with ... the younger workers need to recognize and accommodate the needs of the older workers whose values and styles may not be those of the recent high school grads.

    Your original post is extremely judgmental and doesn't show any acknowledgment of the supervisor's strengths that have earned her the supervisory position. If you start by recognizing her strengths and respecting her experience, you might be able to establish a relationship in which you can eventually "meet in the middle" and both be better for it.

    Good luck,
    llg
  6. by   RobCPhT
    I work for a LTC Pharmacy as the services coordinator. I have 6 years in the business and am hoping to get a promotion as regional director so I can spend more time at our nursing facilities. The company I work for owns over 80 facilities. So The problem with business and management training I use those skills, but I dont see any of them with her. It's just that when I work with this person she is unwilling to learn new things, rarely want's to come to my in-services or other’s in-services even if they are mandatory. Often I decide not to make a stink about it because she is just trying to get the work done. A lot of time I do her work for her because it’s easy for me. I always try to help her learn how to use new aspects of the computer, but she doesn't care. I think my boss just hired her b/c they are friends. One time she asked demanded me to do a stack of 100 chart audits. I explained that we have staff scheduled to do that and I have other obligations. She threw a fit, didn't even think about organizing the schedule or set down with her staff to go over planning. Her dept is unorganized, but it is not really my business to criticize that. She constantly thinks that people are wrong and will yell about something then just walk away. Won't give time for explanations. I document everything. By head on I took the advice of one of our Nurses who told me to ask her “are you being rude to me or am I just reading you the wrong way” she got really upset and wouldn’t talk to me for 2 days. Basically my job includes helping everyone if they need it, but sometimes she wastes my time. Ex yesterday she informed me that she gave 2 of her Nurses the day off and would need me to help cover till 8p when she left at 4. I didn’t even argue there was no point. She has had other complaints from dept supervisors. Like one time she yelled at our BOM about being on a personal call then last week she sat on her phone on the clock for over 30 minutes. I just don’t know what to do. I do appreciate your advice though.
    Last edit by RobCPhT on Sep 16, '06
  7. by   RobCPhT
    What I look for and try inspire in my staff.

    Always be polite, be direct, be part of the solution, tell people what you CAN do, offer advice when asked, speak little listen much. Offer options and suggestions. There is always room for improvement.

    Also always be willing to update your skills. In eighty years you will find me in a wheelchair taking classes on something.

    Your advice is right on many levels maybe I need to be more understanding of different generations, meet people in the middle, and get over those communication barriers.

    You are right I am young, but always willing to take advice, because chances are you know what you are talking about and I should listen.
  8. by   NRSKarenRN
    You started at age 14 in pharmacy???

    Do you guys have any advice how to handle people who are incompetent, undereducated, and have inadequate communication skills
    I too question this statement as very judgemental and value ladden.
    HOW do you know this person is "undereducated", unless they've shared their resume with you...


    Statements:
    I always ask those under me if they “can do” something or if they “can help me complete a task
    You are giving staff the option here of completing task or not...

    Everything she says is "you have to" "it must be done"
    Clear expectation that work needs to be performed in certain manner.


    Use of either style for majority of communucations can cause problems---and they are opposite styles which is why it's so annoying to you.
    In first, some staff will perceive "well I don't Have to do what they request"
    Second, "always telling me what to do" can become a turn off.
    Mixture of both is what is needed. Might be that this Supervisor uses a lot if "you will do... I expect" because her history of working with staff shows they need direct expectations or otherwise work will not get done with "can you help" statements. I have one staff member that consistantly challeges me: you never told me I HAVE to do it....responds best with " Please do this now.... I need you to do XYZ.

    Some people are auditory learners, others visual. Managing a homecare Central Intake Department, I found staff started to take shortcuts to do work or make "I didn't understand" comments so I started using email as a way of clearly communicating expectations using our new computer database in 2003.

    Found out that 1/2 staff "not having the time" to read emails being sent or did not know how to use/send them....therefore missing out on changes to database entry needed to be performed. "There wasn't a voice mail about this" was response. Even though I clearly informed my staff that email would be used as
    a. everyone would have the same message instantly
    b. info could be saved in files and referred back to...no mistake words/phrases used in voicemail which only has 14 day save.
    c, expectation that email messages sent would be read SAME day.

    Taught me that even with staff using computers for 2-3 years, needed to improve My communications with staff. Sat down with staff to ensure everyone knew how to send & open received messages, how to store them. Built info yearly performance eval "Staff would become proficient in email use and sending messages". Those that are auditory learners, still send some messages via voice mail. Now 95% staff use email to communicate with 5 branch offices and have documentation to back-up issues.

    Communication is a two way street. Glad to see that you are open to consideration of your style along with others.
    Last edit by NRSKarenRN on Sep 16, '06
  9. by   llg
    Quote from RobCPhT
    What I look for and try inspire in my staff.
    Always be polite, be direct, be part of the solution, tell people what you CAN do, offer advice when asked, speak little listen much. Offer options and suggestions. There is always room for improvement.
    Also always be willing to update your skills. In eighty years you will find me in a wheelchair taking classes on something.
    Your advice is right on many levels maybe I need to be more understanding of different generations, meet people in the middle, and get over those communication barriers.
    You are right I am young, but always willing to take advice, because chances are you know what you are talking about and I should listen.
    Thank you for being open to my previous advice. I really was trying to be helpful without putting you down.

    I'm a little confused on what your relationship is with this person. Are you her supervisor? Is she your supervisor? From what I can tell from your posts, the answer is "no" to both questions. It sounds to me as if you may not even be in the same department. If I'm wrong about that, please let me know.

    Whether or not you are in the same department, one the boss of the other, equal peers in the same department, etc. makes a big difference in how you should address the situation. For example, if you are her boss, then you should not be letting her avoidance of mandatory education slide. Set clear expectations and enforce them with appropriate consequences. If she reports to someone else, then you should simply report her avoidance to her boss in a factual way. If she repeatedly avoids inservices, you could point that out -- again in a factual way, perhaps expressing concern that she is missing vital information. It is the boss's perogative to decide what to do about the situation, not yours.

    In other words, stay within the parameters of YOUR job and YOUR responsibilities. If her behavior causes problems for your job performance, then report that information to your boss in a way that does not criticize the person. Just give the facts of your job performance. Again, it is the boss's job to handle it. If you can't trust your boss to be fair and reasonable, then THAT's your real problem, not your co-worker.

    Do you have a mentor? If not, that might be another problem. Most people need a mentor to succeed in the political realities of professional life. In this case, you should seek the advice of someone who knows the politics of your institution and the people involved. They can give you tips on how to navigate the political waters of your environment -- when to "push," when to stay quiet, who to trust, etc.

    Good luck to you,
    llg
  10. by   RobCPhT
    Thank you all so much. I really appreciate your advice and will take your wisdom with me in practice. Many of the problems you have solved I am starting to deal with. I did start pharm when 14 family business. Grad HS at 16 right now finishing BSN. Thanks again for your help everyone!

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