Each week, Inc. staff writer Nadine Heintz (Miss Management) will help you tackle office etiquette problems both big and small.
Dear Miss Management,
I'm the founder and CEO of a consulting company. I'm a huge fan of the Olympics, and I tune in during the day on the TV in my office while I'm working. The problem is that some of my employees seem to think it's okay to come in, sit down, and watch for extended periods of time. For me, it's just background entertainment, but they actually drop everything else to watch. Would it be hypocritical of me to tell them to get back to work?
Gaga for the Games
To be sure, a synchronized diving competition can be as mesmerizing as the weather channel before a big storm. And, as owner and top dog of your company, it's well within your rights to do whatever you please. But, unfortunately, that would make you a bad boss. As you probably know by now, leading by example is the only way to go. You do have a couple of options. One would be to shut off the TV, put your nose to the grindstone, and hope that your Tivo doesn't run out of space during the women's 200 meter freestyle final. Another (more fun) option would be to hold mini Olympic viewings at lunchtime. Invite your employees to bring a brown bag lunch into your office or the conference room for a half hour or so. That should satisfy their cravings and send the message that company-wide TV watching should be limited to those hours, even if your set is on throughout the day. Hey, it could also be good for morale.
Have a dilemma for Miss Management? Send her an e-mail and check back here Tuesdays for the answer.