Is it Okay to Ignore a Staff Member?

by Miss Mentor on August 11, 2010

Today’s question concerns office hierarchy. Is it okay to be rude?

I am an Office Coordinator, (office manager), Technical staff memeber has a visitor from the outside in.
Tech staff is going around making introductions and totally side steps me – do I have a right to feel upset and annoyed with him?  He made me feel very unimportant and worthless. –SH

I hear you SH, there is nothing more insulting than having someone who is making introductions walk right past you as though you are invisible. You have a couple of options,

1. You can get upset and proceed to sabotage future projects/deliverables/connections for the offender. You are the office manager, you probably have access to behind the scenes things….

2. You can calmly connect to the offender, face-to-face (email just won’t work here), and let him/her know that you appreciate feeling a part of the team (give an example of a time when he/she made you feel a part of the team, really stretch if you have to) and would he/she mind also introducing you to visitors so you can continue to contribute as a team member. Key word to use is appreciate. You appreciate him/her. Second key concept is to plant the idea that having you know who the visitor is will help you help the team.If you have to, approach it from the angle that the visitor may want to know who you are because you can help him/her get settled in if necessary – an extended visit for example.

3. You can rattle to HR about the offender.

So, based on amount of text alone, you can probably guess my advice, #2.

As much fun as #1 is to think about, it won’t help you. If anything it will set you into a negative passive aggressive cycle that brings everyone down. More likely it will get you fired . . . quickly.

As for #3, forget it. Yes, you can get a negative file started, but you just don’t have the pull that a more technical and or senior staff member has. The reality is that an office manager in theory is easier to replace than a technical staff member. Mind you that is IN THEORY.

I think a great office manager is gold and practically impossible to replace. You want to become that kind of office manager if you aren’t already. Really get yourself inserted into the revenue value chain – can you help the grant writers? Can you help the other staff members who are bringing in the research dollars? Get yourself valuable to the folks who actually control the incoming cash for the company.

SIDE NOTE: I recognized the company SH works for – they are a research firm that depends (Largely? Completely?) on “donated” monies. The last bit hold for everyone though, get as close to the incoming cash as possible. If you generate revenue or are vital to those who do, you become very, very hard to replace.

By the way, I am looking for an office manager. In Dallas. For real.

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