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Support staff workplace responsibilities -Trainer's guide

Chapters

Scenario 8 – John


Scenario outline

John is 45 years old and is a supported employee of a small business service. He picks flowers from the garden for his supervisor, Gail, and often leaves lollies on her desk. Gail accepts the small gifts as she does not want to offend John. Although Gail is married and has two small children, John has reportedly been telling other employees that she is his girlfriend; they love each other and plan to marry next year.

Key points

This scenario is primarily about:

Trust is paramount in building relationships. This can be challenging when we are all so different and often have different perceptions and motivations. However, this diversity can create a very rich workplace if it is managed effectively.

What happens when we ignore things or do not communicate openly with everyone? This scenario explores that kind of situation. Try to keep the discussion focused on supervisory responsibilities rather than stereotypical comments about the roles.

Having clear guidelines is very important in building and maintaining effective relationships. Staff need to know:

In building relationships you need to:

The last point is particularly relevant to this scenario.

Workplace story

John - a supported employee at a small business service

Photo of John

Gail - John's supervisor

Photo of Gail

Robbie - another supervisor

Photo of Robbie

Photo of John picks up flowers

John is 45 and a supported employee in a small business service. He regularly picks flowers from the garden for his female supervisor, Gail, and often leaves lollies on her desk.

Gail accepts the small gifts as she does not want to offend John. Although Gail is married and has two small children, John has reportedly been telling the other employees that she is his girlfriend; they love each other.

Photo of John writing letters

[John – whistling and talking to himself]: I think they're lovely. She's gunna love them.

Photo of Gail and Robbie

[Gail]: Hi, Robbie – thanks for coming over. I just feel more secure with a second opinion on this new record system before we go ahead with it.

[Robbie]: Hey, what lovely flowers!

[Gail]: Yes, they're from John.

[Robbie]: John from the warehouse?

[Gail]: Yes. He's forever bringing me bits and pieces and leaving them on my desk. Sweet, really – I should probably say something to him but I don't want to offend him. I suppose it doesn't do any harm. My kids and my husband tease me about it.

Photo of Gail talking to Robbie

[Gail]: Is something wrong?

[Robbie]: (clearing his throat): Ah, no, not at all.

[Gail]: Come on, what is it?

[Robbie]: Well, I'm not sure but I think John has a thing for you.

[Gail]: What? You have to be joking. Why do you say that?

[Robbie]: One of my staff was talking about a supervisor and a staff member having an affair. It was a hot topic … and I have to say, it caused heaps of goss for a few days. I just thought it was all a bit of a joke.

Photo of Gail holding flowers

Focus questions

Exploring the issues

Debrief questions

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