I recently (around the beginning of December) transferred. This was a complete lateral move as I will continue to be a technical lead for this team working very closely with them.

This also included relocating to another city my employer operates in, which is a minor loss, but is necessary. Some of the red flags that I noticed during the first couple of weeks mostly included verbal complaints about the construction being done to the building.

One of the things I like to do to get to know and learn of my team’s concerns is to ask them to email me a private summary of how they feel. Last week, I received all of the responses These responses pretty much all looked like this:

“With the elevator out of service, walking up the flights of stairs has taken a large amount of time out of my day to use the restroom”

“Our standups are too far away. I suggest we just do it at our desks since we don’t need to see each other”

“[Business Owner] constantly wants me to meet up with him, he should come to us since we’re all too busy and he’s too far away”

“Food options since construction has made it very difficult for us to get lunch, I would rather just work from home so we have easier access”

I should mention that this is a two story building with a flight of stairs about 5000 sq feet roughly (I'm may be wrong, but it isn't very big).

What caused me to post this was when construction on our working space needed to begin. Word got out and people are NOT happy, as they found out that they now have to walk to our main office.

I want to tell my team and others to suck it up, but I am afraid that people will lash out and accuse me of things. I will try to convince my team to stop complaining about these things, but I want to know if I should be strict about it or passive in my approach or if there is another way to handle my situation?

I would also like to mention that I have a bad history with the law and was extremely lucky to have been hired despite my past and it will be almost impossible for me get hired in the same industry.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Jane S
    Commented Jan 17, 2019 at 5:05

5 Answers 5


What you stated is not lazyness (per se).

Obese people do have serious issues taking stairs or simply walking.

Humans are not evolved to be as overweight as so many are today and the whole circulatory / respiratory system struggles to keep up.

Additionally, joints and bones bare the heavy weight, literally, causing pain and all sorts of issues.

But to your case:

You can and should always lend a sympathetic ear and voice your understanding of your teams problems.

You're on their side and should be there to help them if you can.

However these (construction / building change / meeting proceedings) are decisions of upper management, outside of your usual purview as team lead.

Make sure they understand as well.

You could forward the anonymized feedback to your supervisor and include suggestions(if you have any) to lessen the stress.

You can also offer meeting approaches for instance that take the construction into account but you need to clearly state that (as far as you know) management expects business as usual.

Be diplomatic and don't tell them to suck it up but say that

together you(the team) will get through this annoying phase of construction and will be the better for it when you present the work you accomplished in spite of circumstances.


There is nothing for you to handle. People don't like dealing with the construction and hardships that come with it but they have no choice in the matter. The construction looks like it will happen regardless and you are not the one in charge of or responsible for the construction.


As a lead you should be happy that the issues of your team are minor and short term.

For the direct answer to your question is stop looking at them as lazy people and start judging their specific actions. Applying labels of these sorts is counterproductive when handling people, especially groups of people. The mental progression of this is that when you apply a negative label to someone you are setting yourself up to dislike them in general rather than a specific action or opinion that they have displayed. Additionally applying this label to a group can lump the whole group together with a judgment that some individuals will not have earned.

If their preference regarding less activity impacts their performance (eg not going to the standup because it is too far away) that is something to address however as individuals they have to be allowed to have personal preferences.


Like it or not, these are your people, and with your history, the phrase "beggars can't be chosers" comes to mind.

You need to work with your team and enhance their abilities.

This isn't laziness, per-se, it's complaining, which everyone does. They are also voicing their concerns.

Your best approach would be to give them one thing they are asking for, such as the standups at their desks. It would boost morale, acknowledge their concerns, and ameliorate things a bit.

It will also demonstrate to them that you are on their side, and trying to help. That way, even if they do lash out at you, you will have the fallback position of "Look, I'm trying to help, you guys matter to me".

This is the kind of "front line leadership" that will advance your career as well, because the higher ups will notice what happens with your team's morale. Doing odd nice things for them during this time for them will help as well. Bringing in coffee for the team, snacks(yes, I know they're obese) or anything that says "I care" will go a long way.


First of all, you need to decide whether you care about your subordinates' concerns or not. If you do care, and I think you should, it was a good move to ask them to e-mail you how they feel, but then you should not resent it when you don't happen to like those feelings. If you don't care, don't ask to be told.

You cannot fix all the inconveniences, but you might be able to find one or two things you can do to help. Here are some examples of ideas to evaluate:

  • Contact local food truck companies to tell them your people are having trouble getting lunch. There might be a win-win opportunity for a food truck to visit your site. Or for a sandwich shop to deliver to your location.
  • Consider whether the stand-up meeting really can be run from desks. If you take this option, make it clear that it must stay as focused as if it were a literal stand-up.
  • Work out the construction phase that will cause the maximum inconvenience, and discuss with your manager whether you can have a more lenient work-from-home policy during that phase.

If you can find one or more practical steps, you can then tell your team "We have to deal with some inconvenience from the construction, but I have done what I can to mitigate it.". Showing that you considered their issues and did what you could will encourage coping with what you cannot fix, and help establish a good relationship.

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