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Some managers are afraid or can’t be bothered to manage

This week my pet peeve is the phenomenon of managers and supervisors who are afraid to discipline people.

It is sometimes that they can’t be bothered to take the time to administer progressive discipline or perhaps they’re too close to the staff because they’ve come through the ranks in any event they’re now uncomfortable with disciplining.

This is one reason why just because a person has worked in a company for 20 years, does not mean that they should be promoted to a supervisory or managerial position.

We have taken some of the best teachers on the Island and assumed that they can be great principals when the two posts require completely different skill sets; success in one role is not a guarantee of doing well in the other.

In the education scenario, we do the students a disservice. We lose a great teacher who is getting good results in the classroom and could end up with a less effective replacement. It could be that the person who is not as good a teacher might be a better principal or administrator.

There is also the Peter Principal, the concept of promoting people beyond their ability. We all don’t have the same skills. I’m all for ambition and the desire for upward mobility but the higher up you go in an organisation the pool of people who can actually do the job well becomes smaller and smaller. It’s just like being a successful entrepreneur; if it was easy, everybody would succeed at it.

I’ve worked in both the public and private sectors over 36 years. I’ve been in the trenches and have worked my way up to senior management.

I’ve also been in a situation where I worked two jobs one in senior management and the other in middle management or a supervisory role.

Many managers are unable or unwilling to ’“write people up“, to give them warnings, to implement progressive discipline and to properly and effectively manage their sections, business units, areas, etc.

This failure enables undesired behaviour of staff and creates a scenario where such behaviour is highly likely to continue. For instance, let’s take one of my pet peeves absenteeism. An acceptable level of absenteeism in an organisation is three percent. If your section’s rate of absenteeism is over three percent you might like to look into why and make some changes. People have to be held accountable.

If an employee is always absent from work or plays the system by regularly taking two sick days but coming back to work before needing a doctor’s note, that employee’s manager must have a conversation with the person and let them know that they are being monitored.

It is also appropriate in this situation to involve a shop steward or other union representative and advise them of the concern that an employee may be abusing the system.

Contrary to some people’s beliefs, the unions do not condone staff abusing the system and prefer for their members to give an honest day’s work in return for an honest day’s pay. Also, the unions will support managers who have their ”ducks in a row“, who have done their paperwork, followed the collective bargaining agreement and the Employment Act 2000.

If you don’t want to do this or can’t do it you’re not ready to be in management. You have to be willing to discipline people. You have to give verbal warnings. You must put verbal warnings in writing and put them on personal files. You should tell the employee that you will be putting such warnings on their file. The next time a similar infraction occurs, you take it to the next step, which is a written warning, which as its name implies is also in writing.

Thereafter the process of progressive discipline is fairly simple; employees can be suspended with pay, suspended without pay or dismissed for repeated infractions. But I’ve seen examples where supervisors simply don’t bother to have the difficult conversations, don’t give people oral warnings, don’t put those oral warnings in writing; can’t be bothered to prepare a written warning, don’t bother to call a meeting of the employee and their shop steward, union rep or another person; and the behaviour is never arrested.

Understand that unions are there to protect their members and much of what union leaders do is theatrics acting, posturing and saying the right things in front of their members, so that they can be re-elected.

They often shout and make a lot of noise, which riles up the workers and ensures that they get support and that workers feel their rights are being protected.

However, if you follow the CBA and the Employment Act and you are willing to go to an arbitration, to ”test“ the unions and go ”toe to toe“, you may get their support or you may get the correct and fair outcome.

The moral of this story is that managers have to manage and if you are not prepared to do so, perhaps you should not be in management.

The Top 20

Improving to #1 is

Wide Awake by Katy Perry. Tumbling to #2 is

Mercy by Kanye West, Big Sean, Pusha T, 2 Chainz. Tumbling to #3 is

Climax by Usher. Falling to #4 is Pop Queen Rihanna’s hit,

Where Have You Been? All of Rihanna’s songs are bangers.

Improving to #5 is a former essential new tune,

Whistle, by Flo Rida. On the way up at #6 is

Lights by Ellie Goulding, a popular new dance track. Way up to #6 is

No Lie by 2 Chains featuring Drake. Up to # 7 is

Scream by Usher, which is racing up the dance charts. Slipping into the #8 spot this week is

Birthday Cake by Rihanna and Chris Brown

Jumping to #9 is

I Can Only Imagine, a huge dance track by David Guetta featuring Chris Brown and L’il Wayne. Shifting gears to reggae. Tumbling to #10 is the crossover dance hall hit

She Doesn’t Mind by Sean Paul.

Up to #11 is one of the hottest songs released this year and this week’s biggest gainer —

Gangnam Style by PSY. Everybody everywhere is talking about, playing and dancing to this worldwide hit dance anthem.

Tumbling to #12 is

Titanium by David Guetta featuring Sia. Down #13 is

Wild Ones by Flo Rida featuring Sia, a high-energy dance track. Sia is quietly adding to her repertoire of hits, growing in popularity right before our eyes and ears.

Up to #14 is

All Around the World, a popular dance track by teenage heartthrob Justin Bieber. Falling to #15 is

Link Up by Destra, one of the soca hits of 2012. Dropping one space to #16 is

Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae Jepsen, one of the best songs of 2012.

Improving to #17 is

This Is Love by will.i.am. I’m impressed with Will’s performance on this track, both vocal and on the piano. Up to #18 is

Heatwave by Wiley, a dance/reggae/soca hit.

In at #19 it’s

Give Thanks by Christopher Martin, this week’s essential new tune. The lyrics remind us to give thanks for every blessing. On its way out, and down to #20, is

Glad You Came by The Wanted.

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Published October 12, 2012 at 10:04 am (Updated October 12, 2012 at 10:04 am)

Some managers are afraid or can’t be bothered to manage

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