Lesson 058: Managing over-eager employees
TV Series: Star Trek - The Next Generation
Season/Episode: 3/26 ('The Best of Both Worlds Part I')


Lt. Cmdr. Shelby, a very career aggressive minded individual, is put on temporary assignment on the Enterprise to handle a potential Borg attack situation.

Riker, second in command on the Enterprise, gathers a team together, including Shelby, to investigate a planet that shows signs of being attacked by the Borg.

Upon arriving at the planet late, Riker sets a schedule for the following morning for the reconnaissance work on the planet. In her eagerness, Shelby beams down to the planet ahead of schedule with Data alone.

When Riker discovers Shelby's disregard for his order, he pulls Shelby aside, away from the rest of the crew, to let her know of his displeasure with her actions and for her risking their lives by coming to the planet ahead of schedule alone with Data.

Believing she did nothing wrong, Shelby argues that a couple of extra man-power would have proved useless if the more powerful Borg had been present on the planet anyway. Riker informs Shelby that the issue at hand is not the relevance of the extra-manpower, but rather that he wants to be informed if his orders are going to be changed.

In true hard-headed fashion, Shelby acquiesces by telling Riker that his comments are noted for future reference.


A sign of a good manager is to always inspire initiative and encourage outside-the-box thinking in others. However, a manager should never let the actions of those goals ever overshadow the manager's own leadership authority position and responsibilities within the group.

In the end, it is the manager who is responsible for the success or failure of the group, not the individuals within the group.

The management structure serves the purpose of establishing protocols by which tasks and assignments are performed. Adherence to delivery deadlines, rules of conduct, methods of operations all fall under the leadership of the management. Violation of these standards by any staff member, based on their independent individual decisions, can and will most often cause unwanted disruption within the group.

No one is recommending engaging in military style regimentation (that is, in any non-military organization); however, allowing staff to make their own decisions and orders, without management involvement and oversight on anything which impacts others in the company or the company itself is a disastrous move.

Shelby is lucky Riker didn't reduce her in rank immediately as penalty for not following orders properly.

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