Comments and opinions are appreciated. Here’s the situation:
I report to the head of a department at a government agency. When my boss is out of the office, I am in charge. The department has an attendance problem. When my boss is gone, it gets even worse. I have brought this to the attention of my boss who’s response is that he’s fine with how things are running. Problem is, his boss isn’t, and a few months ago, when my boss was on vacation, his boss asked me one day (when I went to see him on another issue) which staff memebers were there in the office.
I have been so frustrated by the departments behavior (it has been going on for years) that I responded to him that if he reads the attendance board it indicates everyone is there. However, if he walks through the department, he’ll find myself and one other individual. He then informed me that I’m second in command, and that they need to report to me. I informed him that I understood that, but that “I don’t think the rest of the dept. knows that”. He immediately sent an email out indicating that they reported to me when my boss was out, and that included checking in/out as far as attendance goes.
Jump to this week. My boss takes the afternoon off for a Dr. appointment. One person is no where to be found for an extended period of time – much like they always disappear when the boss is out. I go about my work, and enter our training room for supplies. There they are in the dark – sleeping (it’s one thing to fall asleep on the job, but to seek out a place to sleep in the building?). When I walk in, they are startled, and immediately jump up, smile and say “hi”. I respond “hi” and go about my business. They immediately return to their desk. As the end of the day approaches, they have the nerve to sneak out of the office leaving early!
How would you handle this situation? Part of me says say nothing as my boss has told me he’s fine with how the dept. is running. But the other part of me says the incident should be addressed, and my boss’s boss has a different expectation. Plus, the behavior IS unacceptable – what if staff from the director’s office had walked in on them sleeping? Just because my boss tolerates this behavior doesn’t mean I have to, and if they get away with it this time when I’m in charge – won’t the blatant behavior continue? And worse yet, won’t my authority when the boss is out be diminished? Curious to see how you would address this!