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Q.
My booth staffer refuses to take breaks. She handles all purchasing transactions in the booth and feels things would fall apart if she weren't there. This means other staff never learn her role. What can I do?

A.
Sometimes, too much dedication can be as much a hindrance as too little. You'll need to have a direct conversation with her during which you can be very clear about your expectations for her role in the booth, as well as find a way to neutralize her reasons for not taking breaks. To accomplish this, I suggest taking a four-step approach.

Begin by thanking her for her outstanding dedication to the booth. Second, explain that you see her role as actually twofold in nature: 1) to assist customers, of course, and 2) to help develop staff. Then explain that sometimes her absence can facilitate the latter as much as her presence can assist the former.

Next, stress that breaks are vital to this process because in addition to giving her time to relax and reset before her next shift, these pauses will also allow staffers to grow without some of the support her presence may be automatically providing them. Last, since she insists she has to be there to handle sales, work with her to groom another staffer who can take over during the short breaks, which will give her a chance to rest and another staffer an opportunity to learn the ropes. Ask her to report her progress on this, which will help reinforce her new role. E



Dan Lumpkin, organizational psychologist, is the president of management-consulting company Lumpkin & Associates in Fairhope, AL. Need answers? Email your career-related questions to askdan@exhibitormagazine.com.
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