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Cell Phones Bizarre Behaviors

I was meeting with one of the people who report to me when her cell phone rang. She answered it and had a five-minute personal conversation, and then wanted to continue as if nothing had happened. I told her that if she ever did that again in a meeting with me, I would put a reprimand in her file. She thinks I overreacted, but I don't think so. Do you?

Overreacting in this case would have been to take her cell phone and drop it in the shredder. As it was, you were more than patient to hang around during her five-minute personal chat. In fact, it would have been altogether appropriate for you to walk out.

If your employee is in a meeting with you and receives an important business or personal call, whether on her cell phone or on a general business line, then she should say something to you about the call and continue after your approval. During the call, you should leave and continue your work, and the interrupted meeting will have to be rescheduled.

You have an employee who has no reluctance to take personal calls at work, probably in violation of company expectations or policy, and further, she has no reluctance to display her disregard for such standards right in front of you. In a word, you have to wonder what in the world is going through her mind.

Rather than being an isolated incident, this type of behavior is a critical incident that may point to other questionable workplace behaviors on her part. In a word, her personal call may actually be transmitting a very important message to you.

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