5 Keys to Achieving Workplace Immortality – The Log (5 of 5)

5 Tenets for Doing Business Better

5 of 5

The Log*

A few years back I watched as two fellow employees disappeared behind the boss’s door. When they came out over an hour later neither of them were happy. One had gone in to demand that the other be fired for his cut-throat methods of climbing over other people. He even threatened that only one of them would be working there the next day. Normally this would be a simple situation of “He said, She said.” which would put the boss in a simple situation wherein he could only promise to keep a closer eye on things and separate the two. However, the accusing employee went in with what amounted to a log. In this log he kept track of every instance and every utterance that came his way from the supposed cause of contention. Now what could the boss do? I later found out from the boss that he pleaded for the whole hour with both parties to get along and promised whatever he could to help the situation. It was not easy but things held together for a time (though both employees left the company not too long after).

The purpose of this example is not to teach a lesson in management. The point is the power of a written record. Even if the accusing employee was wrong (and he was) he came very close to having another employee fired on the spot. That is the power of a written log. But let’s not discuss this powerful tool as a weapon, but as a shield. No matter what size company you are in, no matter how many employees you have (even if you are your only employee!), you will eventually have someone on the other end of the deal (a supplier, a customer, a distributor) or the other end of an assignment (an employee, a co-worker, a worker, a boss) that will put you in a confrontational situation. This confrontation may be a simple mis-communication or it may be an official politically-motivated ‘take down’. Whatever the cause think of the protection you will garner when you resort to your log and point out who asked for what on which date? Whatever the situation, take a note from me and protect yourself from those inevitable run-ins with confrontation – keep a log!

And when it does come in handy, write a note in your log to thank me!

Ever have a similar situation where you wish you had kept a log? Or a situation in which you did?! Let us know.

*keep in mind that a log is a written journal of events and that while email can act as a log of sorts it is far better to keep a log and point to emails to back the log up.


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