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Support staff workplace responsibilities -Trainer's guide

Chapters

Scenario 7 – Dave


Scenario outline

Dave is a supervisor at a medium-sized business service organisation. Dave likes to be known as a 'great guy' and prides himself on his ability to communicate with the staff. Rather than taking a top-down approach to management, Dave feels that he communicates effectively with the staff at a one-to-one level and likes to treat them as equals rather than as employees.

Key points

This scenario is primarily about:

You will need to be aware that this scenario may generate some stereotypical comments, particularly regarding gender and age. There is also likely to be a diverse range of views about what is appropriate language.

It is vital that all viewpoints are valued and allowed to be made in an open discussion. However, you will need to focus on the importance of supervisors and other staff using appropriate language in the workplace and what that entails.

You will need to prepare in terms of knowing your organisation's policies and procedures, particularly regarding inclusive practice and EEO, and also be aware of advice from relevant anti-discrimination authorities. Please refer to the resources section for further guidance.

Workplace story

Cath - a supported employee

Photo of Cath

Dave - the supervisor

Photo of Dave

Joyce - a supported employee

Photo of Joyce

Dave is a supervisor at a medium-sized business service organisation. Dave likes to be known as a 'great guy' and prides himself on his ability to communicate with the staff. Rather than taking a top-down approach to management, Dave feels that he communicates effectively with the staff at a one-to-one level and likes to treat them as equals rather than as employees.

Photo of Dave talking to Joyce

[Dave]: Hey, Joyce, how are you and the other girls getting on with that new order? Will it be ready by Friday?

[Joyce]: Gee, Dave, it's been a while since anyone called me a girl! Um … I think we're going OK but we're waiting on some supplies before we can finish it off.

[Dave]: OK, love. Can you let me know how it's going? I don't want a surprise on Friday morning.

Photo of Cath talking to Joyce

[Joyce]: Dave is on our back again about that order.

[Cath]: Did you tell him it was under control?

[Joyce]: Yeah, but I wish he wouldn't keep asking. I'll tell you another thing – I'm sick of him calling me 'love' and 'girl'.

[Cath]: Aw, he's just trying to be friendly – I don't mind it.

[Joyce]: Well, that's OK for you Cath, but I don't like it, and I can tell you that Sue and Chantelle don't like it either.

[Cath]: Well, maybe you should say something to him.

[Joyce]: Shouldn't have to though. He should know.

Photo of Cath talking to Dave

[Cath]: Hi, Dave – I like that tie you're wearing today.

[Dave]: G'day, Cath – how's my star girl going?

[Cath]: I'm good, thanks, Dave. You better not say that to Joyce but. Boy, did she go off about you calling her a girl!

[Dave]: Really?

[Cath]: Yeah, but don't worry about it – she can be a bit of a grumpy old woman.

Photo of Joyce talking to her team

[Joyce]: Look, I'm not saying he's not a good boss. I just wish he'd treat me with a bit of respect.

[Woman1]: I agree with you, Joyce – it bugs me too.

[Woman2]: Oh, youse are just being silly. It doesn't worry me.

[Young man]: I don't know about that. If someone called my mum 'love', I reckon she'd go crazy.

[Woman2]: Well, I don't mind being called a girl.

[Young man]: Yeah, keep dreaming! He better not call me 'boy'! It's all a bit creepy really.

Focus questions

Exploring the issues

Debrief questions

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