Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about a lead who fails to provide safe working conditions and also gossips about teammates. :
There is a Team Lead at my workplace that I often find is not taking her position in a professional manner. There have been numerous times when this Team Lead has not taken my co-workers concerns on safety issues seriously. Instead of helping solve the problem correctly, she gives them a quick fix, which I believe is more hazardous to my co-workers. For example: My co-worker unloads the trucks at work and often cannot see the heavy boxes that are hidden on top of everything, thus he ends up getting injured due to the hidden box falling on top of him. He told our Team Lead so she could e-mail the Distribution Center like she is suppose to about such issues but instead she told him to get a stool and put it in the truck to check for hidden boxes. However, the truck is slanted and the stool she provided him has wheels on it, which could cause more harm to my co-worker than the falling box.
There have also been times when she will complain, make fun of, or talk about my co-workers, behind their backs to other co-workers or to me. On one occasion I have heard her complain to me about how slow my co-worker was going then walk up to him and make fun of how slow he was working, which I find very wrong and unprofessional. I have complained to our Executive Team Lead about these issues; however, nothing has happened to prevent these issues or correct them. What is there left for me to do before something happens to seriously injure my co-workers and to prevent her from making fun of their performance at the workplace?
What you have outlined is very troubling, and I agree with your concerns! Your Team Lead seems to lack professionalism or caring when it comes to safety, including her poor advice to the worker to use a stool with wheels! And yes, her making fun of others is childish and unprofessional too! Lastly, those in upper management seem dismissive about the problems you raised.
Is there a risk management or Human Resource person there that would be more interested in these issues? I would go to them first. If there isn’t one, how many other workers agree with you? If most do, would they be willing to request a meeting with someone in upper management so it’s not just you? I can see that you want to do the right thing, and I agree with your observations. Maybe it’s just that you’re doing it alone? So if the employee who was asked to use the stool on wheels is concerned enough to stand with you, and others affected by her making fun are concerned enough to stand with you, then your co-workers as a unit could try to have a discussion with someone in upper management. That will often have greater impact–there’s strength in numbers.
You would want to propose some suggestions to solve the problems so you’re part of the solution. On the other hand, if the other employees aren’t as concerned, and don’t want to bring up the issues too, then maybe the best thing is to focus on your job and needs. In other words, let them decide what they want to do, because you’ve already brought the problems to management. I hope these ideas are helpful!
P.S. Before you bypass your Team Lead, ask yourself: if you were she, would you want to be told by a subordinate or coworker first that she/he was going to go above or around you to ask for help with this matter?
Guest Respondent, Author, The Teamwork Chronicles WEGO is building teamwork to raise concerns and solve problems!
Steven H. Carney