Prevention can be better than a cure with staff issues

EVERY manager has to deal with ‘problem’ staff. That’s why we have managers. It goes with the territory. Avoiding the problem won’t make it go away and will seriously undermine your credibility in the eyes of others. Initiating the person’s removal to another area can sometimes be a solution if the problem is caused by bad chemistry between the two of you. Usually, however, transferring the ‘problem’ person to another area is weak management. Here are some points to consider to prevent or to address this situation. • Lead by example. Set the standard. Be a model of the same behaviours expected of staff. Observe company rules, safety standards, etc. and maintain high standards of job performance. Remember that your staff will take their cue from you. They will judge you by what you do, not just what you say. • Act immediately. Unresolved problems will fester away and erupt more seriously at some later point. Many a serious problem could have been prevented if it had been nipped in the bud. • Be seen to attempt something positive. No action on your part will weaken your effectiveness to manage others. Other staff will wonder why they should comply when so and so gets away with it. • Be consistent. Avoid personal biases. Treat all staff in the same way to prevent being accused of victimisation or favouritism. • Clarify expected standards of performance. Ensure all staff are fully aware of what is expected and your perceptions of how staff are meeting those expectations. Allow staff to take responsibility for setting standards of performance. Discuss and explain changes to policy and procedures before they come into effect. • Discipline in private. Avoid the humiliation and hostility caused by a public dressing down. • Act on complaints and grievances immediately. Regard complaints or grievances as early warnings of worse situations that could follow. • Deal with the problem yourself. Accept that the performance of your staff is your major responsibility. Passing the problem on to another area will be seen as weak management on your part. • Keep calm. If disciplinary action is needed, plan your approach. Gather all the facts about the situation before acting. Respond, don’t react. • View it as an opportunity. Somebody will be hurting in this situation – consciously or otherwise. This is an opportunity to change something for the better. It can be an opportunity for people to learn something, to grow and develop. Daniel Kehoe created and developed the Super-Thinker ® – an outstanding and innovative tool for decision making, problem solving and planning. He has worked as a management consultant/facilitator since 1979 in Australia and overseas. In that time he has worked with over 5,000 managers ranging from chief executives to frontline managers. He has spent thousands of hours listening to and exploring the important perspectives and issues driving success. The list of organisations he has consulted to reads like a Who’s Who of Australian commerce and industry. Daniel is a Fellow of the Institute of Management Consultants and is the author of the best-selling You Lead, They’ll Follow book series, volumes 1, 2 and 3 published by McGraw Hill and sold worldwide. On-line See the Super-Thinker ® at Contact Daniel

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