Let’s Learn From A Mayor Who Can’t Control Her Calendar or Her Staff

I don’t live in Chicago and I don’t know their Mayor, but I’m pretty confident I wouldn’t want to work for her. That’s because her approach to working with staff members is so terribly wrong.   But, Mayor Laurie Lightfoot, I am willing to be your coach.

The Chicago Tribune published a series of emails that Mayor Lightfoot sent to her then-aid Taylor Lewis.

She demanded more time to work in her office. That’s a reasonable request. But she repeats each sentence about a dozen times. Imagine getting an email from your boss in which she writes, “I need office time every day!” and then repeats that phrase a total of 16 times.

She added, “Not just once a week or some days, every day!” That phrase is repeated a dozen times.

“Breaks or transition times between meetings are not office time. If this doesn’t change immediately, I will just start unilaterally canceling things every day. Have I made myself clear, finally?!” Again each of those sentences is repeated 13 times.

How condescending and rude.

The head of any department or office has the right to tell their scheduler how to carve out “work time.” It is an excellent idea.

But these are things that are best discussed in person and early on during their work relationship. If, for some reason, the staff member consistently ignores this request, a follow-up meeting is in order. A confirmation email would be a typical follow-up, but it should be professional and not petty with repeated phrases. We should always treat our staff the way we would want to be treated.

Lightfoot’s request was reasonable. The way she went about it was very wrong.

Why would anyone want to work for someone like that?

If you have an administrative scheduler, treat them with respect.

  Make it clear when you want to have work time in the office

  How long?  How often?

  Under what circumstances can this be ignored.

While you are at it, you need to make it clear to your staff any other requests for your calendar to be managed. For example, because I feel that I do my best work first in the morning, I preferred to have my meetings after 10 am. My assistant knew that I tried to schedule my appointments accordingly. It didn’t always work out. But when it didn’t, I would never have sent her such a demeaning email.

You got that, Madam Mayor?

How do you manage your calendar so that you have time to get your work done? That’s one of the topics in my course, “Pathway to Productivity and Time Management“. Check it out for your self, and maybe send a gift subscription to a certain mayor we know.

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