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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Longest Year: The Team Leader Saga (3)

What had occurred before this entry were described in Part 1 and Part 2.

Supplanting Ellie to become the new acting team leader was a huge boost to Patty's ego. She had ambitions. A foreign graduate, she always thought herself overlooked and under-appreciated by her colleagues. Now, it was time to show them her leadership skills. She immediately assumed a maternalistic attitude toward her colleagues, handing out accolades and reprimands to reviewers with whom she was sharing complaints about the Boss and Ellie just a few weeks ago. The view on top --- or merely on the second floor --- was always better than that at the bottom.

Unfortunately, Patty quickly discovered that none of her fellow reviewers took her new authority seriously. True, as the team leader, she was in charge of overseeing their work and giving comments and critiques. But none took her critiques lying down and often argued every point with her. They kept dropping hints, in front of and behind the Boss, that Patty had barely enough qualification and aptitude to be a reviewer, much less a team leader.

Fighting with her colleagues and trying to maintain her authority, Patty was soon feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. Stressing her out even further the endless administrative crap that she had to manage daily: Responding to outside requests, managing reviewers' workload, dealing with complaints from all corners, and generally getting dumped on by the Boss with every bit of worthless little projects.

The morale in the team had slipped so low that fewer and fewer members came to the weekly team meetings, each person's excuse was lamer than the next. Soon enough, everyone, from the Boss Lady to the reviewers, was phoning into the weekly team teleconference.

Patty thought she could show off her leadership skills, but the Boss thought Patty was taking her newly found power a little too far and a little too enthusiastically. "I don't even know what Patty is doing nowadays," the Boss once complained to the third reviewer on the team, the last person who had not tasted power yet. This reviewer, who would never get anywhere because she has a big mouth, promptly offered the Boss complaints about Patty's incompetence --- unable to keep up with work assignments, unable to resolve conflicts, unable to make sound judgment, etc., etc., giving the Boss plenty of ammunition to take the next step.

Three months later, Patty was promptly relieved of her acting team leader position. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief.


Just when the reviewers assumed that things would return to the way they were 6 months ago, albeit with somewhat soured opinions toward each other after the much ado about nothing, the Boss Lady announced a new brilliant ideas of hers: a peer-review system in the team. Instead of returning to the previous work process, in which the Boss review and sign off on, therefore assume responsibility for, every reviewer's review, each reviewer's work would be "peer-reviewed" by one of her fellow reviewer.

All this to save the Boss Lady some work and headache, so that she could concentrate on "more important things," like "working from home" two days a week and attend more meetings with upper management, so that she could lunge toward more projects and seize more glory, and so that she remains the most faithful and indispensable pet to the bigger bosses.

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