Have you ever wondered why UGRs exist? A little wine, good food and a beautiful evening in Queensland was the setting for a discussion on this very topic. It is summarised below (also it is evidence that not too much wine was enjoyed!)
On my recent trip to Queensland, I sat with three great people who were on the State committee of the former Australian Customer Service Association (ACSA) (yes, former ACSA, which incredibly, has ceased trading. But that’s another story…).
We got into a fascinating discussion about why UGRs exist. Here’s a brief summary of our discussion…
In some cases, UGRs are created as a defence mechanism by managers who feel inadequate about aspects of their personal performance at work. These people feel that if they were exposed for their real knowledge or skills, that would be used against them and they would lose their power or influence over people. In this context, UGRs are used as a defence mechanism to protect a personally perceived inadequacy. As an example, a manager may feel inadequate about their personal skills to deal with an angry customer.
This manager might proclaim the importance of service on a regular basis, but when it comes to assisting a staff member to deal with a difficult customer, this manager might become aloof, or might say to the staff member ‘You’ve got to learn to deal with these people – I can’t be around to help you all the time.’
In other cases, UGRs are created by managers who are in a competitive context and where they wish to obtain an advantage over their peers. They wish to be seen in a better light by more senior colleagues and attempt to gain political advantage over their ‘competitors’ who might be in different departments or different geographical locations.
As an example, a manager might be seen to proclaim the importance of customer service on a regular basis. This manager however, might abandon their involvement in an important staff meeting dedicated to service, as there was a chance for that manager to meet personally with a senior manager. This would be an example of ‘political manoeuvring’ being more important than customer service, and negative UGRs would follow.
Our discussion then led to considering how either of these contexts could be addressed, in order to put in place more positive UGRs. We decided that was a good topic for next time, and proceeded to discuss the good wine we were enjoying!
However, we would like to use this as an opportunity to get your thoughts on this matter. If you have any ideas on what might be done to address either or both of the above examples, send us an email, and we will include a sample of ideas in coming newsletters.
Alternatively, you might like to provide us with anonymous stories about your work experiences where actions have created UGRs similar to those above. Of course, in reporting these, we will respect your confidentiality!