Lesson 026: Management of work vs. personal priorities
TV Series: Star Trek - The Next Generation
Season/Episode: 5/20 ('New Ground')


Worf's pre-teen son arrives on the Enterprise to live with Worf.

As is the life of parent, Worf's day is constantly interrupted by issues concerning his son. Not only does attending to his son delay him for a meeting with Capt. Picard, but he is also interrupted twice during the meeting by the school teacher and the doctor, respectively, with questions regarding his son.

Realizing Worf's situation, Capt. Picard dismisses Worf from the meeting and tells Worf to go attend to his family matters first, and then attend to the issues discussed in the meeting.


A good manager must acknowledge that for everyone, the needs of family matters will always supersede any job related work issue.

No one can ever perform at their optimal level if they are carrying the burden of a family crisis on their mind. Sometimes the family related concerns can be so overwhelming, that job performance can suffer and the potential for errors and failures can rise exponentially.

Only by taking the time to attend to the family issues can individuals bring their focus back to their jobs. The family issues do not have to be readily resolved. They just need to be deferred to a stasis mode, until full attention can be given to them after normal work hours.

Allocating personal time to people to attend to family matters should be a mandate of all management.

Reasonable managers will always make contingency plans to back up their staff, should staff require urgent personal time off from work. The same manager will then always be able to allow personnel to be away from their assignments for short durations without hampering or causing any delay to work deliverables.

By not impacting the work, the manager not only keeps his company and his customer satisfied, but more importantly, the manager gains, in return, greater commitment and allegiance from the staff member who was given the time off.

Of course, common sense must be applied by the manager when granting personal time off to staff. The risk of abuse by nefarious employees could very well turn a leave for a family emergency into a day at the beach or the ball game.

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