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Helper or enabler? The line is not that fine

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in Your Office Coach

Q: “I work with a woman who seems unwilling to learn anything on her own. About twelve months ago, ‘Tanya’ transferred back into our department after being gone for five years. Although we are now using completely different software, she refuses to take classes or consult the manual.

“Tanya constantly asks me to help her and often wants to copy my work. She shows no interest in the online training that I have suggested. I’ve worked hard to develop my computer skills and feel that Tanya should do the same. Her endless requests are driving me crazy. What should I do?” Not a Teacher

A: There’s a difference between being helpful and being an enabler. If your assistance has kept Tanya from making any serious errors, your manager may be completely clueless about her incompetence. Since employee training is a management responsibility, you need to involve your boss in resolving this problem.

For example: “I’m concerned about Tanya’s ability to use our current software. The program has completely changed since she last worked here, so she’s having a lot of difficulty. I’ve tried to help, but she really needs some formal instruction. Could the two of us meet with you to create a training plan for her?”

After that, if Tanya continues to bug you, just refer her to the appropriate instructional resource.

If you must talk with your boss about a colleague's behavior, do it in the right way. Here's how: The Best Way to Complain about Co-workers.

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