By: Larry Fish, President
Recently, a good friend told me about an experience he had when he was a given a promotion in his company. The promotion was a risky one for him because it involved taking over a completely different division from what he had been used to managing. He was very worried about how the people would accept him and the resultant employee turnover that a leadership change like this usually creates. After all, he really didn’t know that much about what they did, but he did have good people and management skills. He tried to put himself in the place of the people he would soon be leading and imagine what they needed to know about his style and expectations in order to forestall turnover, especially among his key employees.
The result of these deliberations was a booklet he developed entitled, “The Ground Rules – A Common Sense Approach.” He planned to distribute it to the members of his new division. There were several subjects that he covered in it. One of them was a section entitled “Out Of Bounds.” It went like this.
Out of Bounds Conditions
An out of bounds condition is one in which you can expect immediate, direct, honest counsel from me on ways to improve. This is an event! Take it seriously.
- A continued, unchecked decline in your unit’s results
- An inability to identify, understand, and manage your department’s key indicators
- Referring to a customer as a problem
- Mishandling information shared in confidence
- Pointing fingers
- Being political
- Judging others
- Being too thin skinned to accept constructive criticism
- “It’s not my job.” (Either saying this or behaving this way)
- Staying uninformed and using it as an excuse for inactivity
- Improving nothing
- Staying “bunkered” in your office
- NOT taking initiative
- Creating/maintaining a negative environment for people
- Making no recommendations about anything
- Failing to develop people
- Asking for additional headcount when current people in your unit are performing below standards
- A major failure in any of the essential leadership traits (He defined what these were in another part of the booklet)
- Inflated or deflated performance evaluations
- Excessive use of staff departments to solve management problems
One of the departments in his new division had a problem with people who were often late for work and absent as well. Here’s how he chose to deal with those issues.
Absenteeism and Tardiness
Each person is expected to be at work, on time, every day. Exceptions to this are vacations, sickness, and legitimate, needed and excused time off. Excessive tardiness and absenteeism are problems. They diminish our ability to serve our customers well and transfer extra work to other people. This can create poor morale and inequitable working conditions. Excessive absenteeism/tardiness are usually symptoms of one or more of the following:
- Poorly defined job
- Poor match between person and job
- A severe personal problem
- A poor working environment
- Too many people, too little work
- Lack of commitment and sense of accountability
- Lack of leadership
Neither absenteeism nor tardiness is solved by complex policies and calculations — they are solved by you.
Everyone has a personal philosophy and approach they have adopted over time filled with anecdotes and experiences that they have used and as a result have produced desirable results. The “Ground Rules” are one person’s examples of things that have worked in certain situations. You may find them useful for yours, especially when you need to establish standards of conduct that will engender mutual respect and ongoing employee retention.
To learn more about how leadership impacts employee retention, call 1-888-375-7787 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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