Dear Del: Run your own reports!

Dear Del,


For the past several years, I’ve been providing support for the users of our AMS – cleaning up data when need be, running queries and reports, and just generally troubleshooting the system. Here’s my problem: it seems like my users come to me for even the simplest of requests now – things that I know that they should be able to do. When I ask them why they aren’t doing such things themselves, they comment on how well I do them and remark that it’s just more efficient for me to take care of the problem. How can I get them to handle their fair share of the workload?

It seems that you have proven the old adage NGDGU (no good deed goes unpunished).

What you need to do is to help your users help themselves (and you!) by assuming responsibility for the tasks that are rightly theirs. It might help to frame such discussions in terms of their empowerment, and/or what they might do if you are unavailable and such tasks need to be performed – after all, if you win the lottery (much less messy than the ‘hit by a bus’ scenario) they’d be up a creek!

Another thing that might help is to have technology competencies spelled out in people’s position descriptions and hence annual evaluations – across the entire organization – in order to make it clear that they can no longer lean on you to get their work done for them. Of course, one thing to guard against is if they really can’t do what it takes, in which case there will be a strong need for additional training.

Overall, teaching someone how to fish, so to speak, is far better than having to get them a new fish every day.