Find Mediators Near You:

Poor Behavior 9: Rescuing

Conflicts of Interest Blog by Vivian Scott

Do you work with someone whose shortcomings tug at your heart strings? Taking on the role of caregiver every now and then isn’t a bad thing; like helping a new employee find his way or mentoring someone who has an interest in learning from you. Nor is it wrong to help someone become more efficient or stretch their skills; no matter your position in the org chart.

#9 in our list of a Dozen Dirty Behaviors That Cause Conflict at Work is what happens when an employee relies too much on that helping hand and you’ve moved from aiding to rescuing. Other employees can get upset especially when the rescuing is at their expense for an extended period of time or happens a little too often.

To be clear, covering up for someone or asking someone to cover up for you is not the same as covering (or rescuing). Covering is a short term action like answering the phones when a coworker has an appointment outside the office or responding to customer emails while Cindy is on vacation. Covering up is more than that; like keeping someone in a position that’s beyond his capabilities even with additional training and coaching. That sort of rescuing isn’t doing him or his co-workers any favors.

If you’re covering up for a coworker, consider going to him and letting him know you think it’s time for him either to ask for whatever it is he needs to do his job properly—or you will. Talk to him about the benefit of having this out in the open like experiencing less stress or perhaps finding a job that better fits his skill set. You can cut the cord with compassion and dignity if you put the focus on the benefit for him rather than talking about the fact that you can’t take it any longer.

If you’re the one others are rescuing, consider stepping up to acknowledge what’s happening and presenting a proposal to change things. Admitting your shortcomings and asking management to work with you on a plan to improve may actually result in you getting better at your job than you thought possible.

                        author

Vivian Scott

Vivian Scott is a Professional Certified Mediator and the author of Conflict Resolution at Work For Dummies.  She spent many years in the competitive and often stress-filled world of high tech marketing where she realized resolving conflict within the confines of office politics was paramount to success.  Through creative solutions… MORE >

Featured Members

ad
View all

Read these next

Category

Mediation & People With Disabilities

For those who miss the monthly NYC-DR Roundtable Breakfast meetings sponsored by ACRGNY and John Jay College due to schedules (yes, we are all very busy conflict resolvers) or due...

By Jeff Thompson
Category

Cognitive Bias Revisited

From Michael Carbone's listservBy now we should all be familiar with what "cognitive bias" is.  It's a mistake in reasoning or decision-making that is caused by sticking to our own...

By Michael P. Carbone
Category

Steep Path Awaits New Practitioners In Field

This article originally appeared in the January 1998 issue of Consensus, a newspaper published jointly by the Consensus Building Institute and the MIT-Harvard Public Disputes Program.Stephanie Moura has come a...

By Jennifer Thomas-Larmer
×