Right Person, Wrong Seat

Have you ever encountered someone who just did not seem to be the right fit for the job? Have you observed an employee who seemed less than enthusiastic about being there? Do you have a supervisor or co-worker who you would love to hang out with outside the workplace, but do not really think is up to the task in the current position? Whether it is a supervisor, administrator, or fellow co-worker, I hear about the difficulties arising from someone being in the wrong job within a business or organization. Workplace conflict leads to frustrated management, disgruntled employees, irritated customers, and generally wreaks havoc on productivity and morale. 

How does the right person end up in the wrong seat? It happens a myriad of ways; however, the two most common seem to be:

  • A business does not fill a position and a solid employee in another area willingly accepts the additional tasks. The required skill set is not the same, however, and the “great employee” underperforms in the new capacity. Instead of checking in after a few weeks or months to discuss progress, months and years pass and now no one wants to address it. 
  • A solid employee works with the company for many years. A management position opens and, as a reward, the long-standing employee receives the promotion. While excellent in the previous position, management proves a poor fit. Again, nobody wants to have the conversation and the person either stays in a position for which he is ill-suited, or receives another time-based promotion. 

When someone sits in the wrong seat at the workplace, most people know it (including the person sitting in the wrong seat). Conflict management requires being very clear about organizational values and needs. Mediation helps people engage in constructive conversations to keep the right people in the right seats. Individual conflict coaching offers employees, managers, human resource professionals or business owners the opportunity to clarify needs, consider options and create a plan to address issues with confidence and compassion. 

A civil and family mediator, peace builder, and educator, Sherry Ann Bruckner lives in Alexandria, Minnesota. Visit brucknermediation.com/services to learn more or call Sherry at (320) 808-3212 for help to transform conflict and create peace.

As always, be gentle with you. Be gentle with all. Be the peace.