Disciplining Bad Managers and Keeping Employees

Learning how to disciplining bad managers is a critical to retaining key employees and fostering a high-performance culture. So what are your choices: a) yell and scream b) ignore them, maybe they will change. c) shake your finger in their face and tell them you will “write them up”. Answer: None of the above.

Disciplining bad managers has been a challenge that has been with employers since one Neanderthal hired another to carry his firewood to the cave. What I advise employers to do is: hire the right person to begin with. Too many people make hasty decisions and settle on the best of the worst to fill an urgent hiring need. This means having a pool of possible employees on file so that you are not scurrying around. Also, be on the lookout for potential employees wherever you go and ask your good employees for referrals.

Next, have an experienced interviewer conduct the interviews. Many businesses call people in for interviews without a clue on what questions to ask.  Unfortunately, people lie or exaggerate what their skills are. To combat this, have the job seeker actually perform the tasks they will have to do.

Invest in hiring a consultant to train your supervisors or managers on how to interview. The cost will be worth it and you will not have to bring in the consultant to do future hiring. (Although it may be worth the cost because they are experts in this area.)

OK. So this is the best case scenario for disciplining bad managers. What happens if you have someone who is already hired? A possible solution but rather costly and highly immoral. Here are a few tips to use to deal with the problem.

  • Never yell or demean the person in front of others or even in private. This is a lawsuit waiting to happen, plus it is not a positive way to handle the situation.
  • Never react in anger and “shoot from the hip”. The count to 10 rule applies here. Take a walk or remove yourself from the situation. For those of you who are parents, this applies to disciplining your kids too! Otherwise, you wind up grounding them for life and then having to take back the punishment.
  • Think about what you want to say and write it down for yourself. Review it before you speak with the person.
  • Call the person into your office and close the door. It is kind of like getting called to the Principal’s office when we were kids. (Although I am sure NONE of our readers did that!)
  • Use “I” messages when explaining why the employee behavior is not acceptable. Use their name:

“Jenny (Johnny) I have noticed you have been coming in 20 minutes late every day. We count on you to be on time. Do you know why we need you here right at 9:00?” (They respond). “Yes, that is absolutely true. We need you here so we can be sure the customers will be served quickly. If we don’t keep them happy then we have no business and no one will have a job.”

“I really need you to come on time to work. If you do, that will ensure you keep your job and when you do a great job, I will remember it when determining raises.  If you cannot do this, then I will have to document this in your file. If you remember the Employee’s Handbook, three write ups equals termination of employment. However, I know I can count on you to do your best.”

  • Be sure to write up your notes on the session and date it and put in their file. If you have documentation, this will help in case of a wrongful discharge suit.

Finally, get to know each of your employees. Ask about their families and take a personal interest in them. This creates a good atmosphere and happier campers. Customers can sense this happy climate and will want to come back.

Posted in Culture Change, Leadership, People.

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