Live Like Commons People; what would it be like if a politician actually worked in your office?

Listening to all the coverage over the general election made me wonder what it would be like to have a ‘politician’ working with us in our office.

Listening to all the coverage over the general election made me wonder what it would be like to have a ‘politician’ working with us in our office. This is my imaginary appraisal write-up for the ‘areas for improvement’ that came back from the 360 feedback session for my imaginary colleague - Polly Tician.

You must not overpromise (and under-achieve)

Many people have commented on your tendency to set yourself really ambitious goals. That in itself isn’t a bad thing. However, you have a tendency to fall short of these goals, but then tell everybody what a great job you have done. For example, in the last budget cycle you promised to make your budgets balance. You didn’t do that - in fact the company’s debts have grown by 80% in the last five years. But you keep telling everybody what a great job you have done.

You need to answer questions

Your colleagues get really get fed up with your inability to answer even the simplest of questions directly. They give many examples when you have answered a different question from what was asked or where you’ve just waffled. There are two further issues with how you answer questions in the next two points.

Blaming somebody else you work with

Perhaps the single biggest issue that your colleagues have complained about is your tendency to blame everybody but yourself when things go wrong. While we all have problems with our colleagues on occasion, it doesn’t help working relations to air those thoughts in public. I know Libby Dem has been really fed up with this. You have to accept that sometimes you didn’t get things right

Blaming somebody who used to work here months or years ago

Another specific example of your ‘blame’ tendency is to make former colleagues, many of whom you have never even worked with, the reason that something didn’t work. This must stop. Poor old Gordon left here more than five years ago now.

Denying a problem exists

If your colleagues tell you that they are not happy with one of your initiatives, you MUST listen to them. It’s no good continually telling them that it’s not a problem, that everything is fine and on occasions being rude to them in the process. Perception is reality and if colleagues aren’t happy, it may be that you need to keep them in touch better or adjust your work. Your attitude to Scot Land’s approach being so different to yours is an example of this. Point blank denial of problems needs to stop

Denying failure at anything

Yes, it’s good to focus on the positives. However, it’s not good to deny the negatives in all circumstances. Sometimes the best way to start tackling problems is to admit that they need to be done better.  Some colleagues wonder whether your inability to personally take the blame or admit failure is a sign of more deep-seated psychological problems.

You keep putting ideology before evidence

It’s good to have a clear idea of the principles on which your work is based and I admire that. However, those principles should be tempered by the reality of what actually works. For example, you kept telling people that your free scones you brought in last Friday were the best and everybody loved them - if that were the case, where were half of them left over?

You worry endlessly about how you look or are perceived

This is a small issue, but you do seem to spend a lot of time asking people how they think you are doing. “Fishing for compliments” was how one person described it. I thought the internal office poll about your performance was over the top (and I am not sure people were entirely honest). The irony is that you ignore the results when they don’t say what you want them to.

Insisting on claiming for every expense large and small

You may say it’s a small thing, but most people take a balanced view on what you can claim on company expenses. You are the only person who claims for the teabags they use when working at home. And the heating costs. And the bread. You’re the only one who claims for the 15 texts you send when on company business. We know you are allowed to technically, but it does make you seem obsessed with claiming in a way that doesn’t endear you to your colleagues

Making cast-iron promises

Objectives are a really good way of making people deliver, no doubt about it. However, you take this to extremes. Promising people you would tackle the IM migration of our database, and then repeating it numerous times in public, when it’s an area in which you have to depend on suppliers from across Europe was just daft.

And I know I said we needed to set your objectives in stone, but Polly I didn’t mean it literally. What are we going to do with that enormous block now?

Joe Saxton

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