As managers, we are responsible for ensuring that the work gets done correctly; that the established goals are met; and the organization’s overall performance and employee’s morale are high. These are not easy responsibilities to carry, particularly if you are managing a workforce that is diverse on skills and personalities, and has long- existing poor habits.
To succeed in establishing and maintaining a smooth operation, managers in general must possess a keen knowledge of human behavior.
We all know that delivering bad news to someone is not something that we look forward to. However, to keep that work place “operational”, we must tackle the roots of the problems heads on.
I am not a strong supporter of the employee performance appraisal when it is used only once-a-year to communicate all the weaknesses to an employee at once. That is customarily followed by a series of corrective actions with time frames to complete, with the expectation that this “punishment” (a negative appraisal) will bring positive resolutions.
When you don’t address matters that are supposed to be discussed as they happened during the course of the year, you are not doing the organization or your employee any good. In fact, the longer you wait to address matters, the harder it will be to fix them and the chances of making it worse will be higher. Why? Mainly because the employee will see it as punishment, reprisal and perhaps discrimination. In the end it will affect your bottom line.
When an employee’s performance decreases, managers must tackle the issue(s) at stake immediately. If you are a good leader, chances are that you will have an idea of the possible root of the issue. However, if not, it may be that you are not being in touch with your staff the way you should.
Regardless of when you do it, when it is time to address poor performance or behavior, the best way to do it is by calling the employee to a private one-on-one meeting to find out if there is any problem that is affecting the employee’s performance and reassure the employee that part of your role as a manager is to help him/her to be successful.
Always remember that your employees are humans and not machines. As humans they are bound to make mistakes that without intervention could drag on their weaknesses or shortcomings for too long. YOU DEPEND ON THEM to move your operation forward. If you don’t take the initiative to break this cycle, no one will because you are their leader. If you don’t address problems early on, then don’t be surprised if the organization that you are leading or your workplace collapses before your eyes.
Just recently my husband called a well-known company to request a refund on an overcharge in our credit card. He was as always polite and respectful over the phone. A male attendant so well-mannered and courteous answered and indicated that he will have to transfer the call.
Background: Before I describe the incident that happened next, let me just tell you a couple of things about my husband. First, he is extremely respectful and fair to everyone. He is a lawyer and a Senior Executive Judge in the Federal Government. Furthermore, he has always been humble and unassuming, and will never make reference to his professional position.
The Unfortunate Incident: Back to the company; the call was transferred, a female answered the phone nicely and asked him how she can help. My husband, who has an accent, begins to explain the overcharge and is interrupted abruptly by this lady in a terribly condescending manner. While he was trying to explain the matter, she kept interrupting and using statements like, “stop talking and listen to me, I said quiet, hear me” and raising her voice at times. Finally, she hung up on him.
As any lawyer would do, he immediately wrote a letter to the president of the company describing the situation. A call from the office of the President of the company was made to him a few days later apologizing for the unfortunate experience. He was sent the full refund of the prior over charge and was offered a free travel service the next time he travels. He expressed deep appreciation for the call, the apology and the refund, but respectfully declined to accept the free service, since it was not the point.
I am telling this story to create awareness of a double standard that at times some ignorant people have to belittle and mistreat others simply because they hear an accent. They presume that a person with an accent is uneducated, worthless and can be disrespected. I truly believe that this would have not happened if instead she would have seen him in person, in his dark suit and tie, briefcase in hand, handsome, but still with an accent. She would have treated him in a different manner.
Lesson to learn: Everyone must be respected regardless of an accent, color of the skin, disability, financial status, sexual orientation, religious beliefs or how they look!
ABOUT THE Author
I am a blogger, a photographer, a jewelry designer, a gourmet cook, and a recipe book writer. I am also a flea market flipper, an avid gardener, an interior/ outdoors designer, an avid golfer and traveler.