How Many People Can You Waste?

by Dwayne Phillips

We have lots of work to do. We have people here to do the work. How many of these people can we waste?

I suppose we are still in “the great resignation.” Come back to the office building, now! (please) (pretty please)

We have lots of work to do. We have some people here to do the work. We wish we had more people here who know the work to be done and are competent and will work for the wages and benefits we offer.

How many of the people who are here now can I waste? I’m the manager. I’m responsible for accomplishing the work. Of course I utilize everyone to their fullest.

Or do I? Am I wasting some of the people who are here to do the work? Do I assume some people cannot do or cannot learn? Do I assume that only I can do this or that task? Have I created a situation where only I have access to the information needed to do something? Have I created a situation where only I can decide on most of the things that happen here?

And then we can delve into all the ways that I cause people to back away from the work because I am…well, how can we politely say that I am a jerk and no one wants to be around me let alone work.

There are many ways that I can waste people. There are a few ways that I can encourage, inspire, and enable people. I should focus on those few things and practice them daily. Say “hello” to each person each day. Call them by their name. Talk about the weather and the little things on their desk. Sure this is all more difficult now that we all work from home or hybrid-ize this or that, but I can still do it. I don’t have any people to waste.

Many years ago, a wise person told me that the workplace should be pleasant and productive. I have yet to find a better description or goal.

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Dwayne Phillips

Engineer, computing, consulting, writing, teaching, and a few other things in an effort to make us all better and smarter.